ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Playing in one-goal games has become quite familiar to the
St. Louis Blues.
Pavol Demitra and Eric Nickulas scored first-period goals and Chris Osgood
made 21 saves to lead the Blues past the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 Saturday night.
The Blues are 13-6 in one-goal games this season and 18-6-2-1 overall.
"I'd love to have a blowout, but it's not in the cards right now," Blues
center Doug Weight said. "We have to be great defensively. We might win three
in a row 6-1 or 6-3 or 6-4 if we just let loose. But we're not going to be 18-6
if we're playing that type of game."
Osgood said his job is to stop pucks but he wouldn't mind a little more
"I think we'd like to score a little more and we've been having some
trouble putting teams away after getting leads but we held the fort," Osgood
said. "Hey, it's a tough league. I mean every team is good and there are no
The Blues have not lost to the Kings at home since the 2001-2002 season and
are 3-0 against Los Angeles this season. St. Louis is 10-2-1-0 at home,
including a 4-1 win over Los Angeles on Dec. 2. The Blues also beat the Kings
1-0 on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles.
Osgood earned his 289th career victory, which ranks sixth among active
players. Los Angeles backup Cristobal Huet faced 27 shots.
Winning the close games suits St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville, who said
these wins will help his club later in the season.
"I think there's something we can gain from these games," Quenneville
said. "Not too many games do you get a two-goal lead and you're in control the
whole game. Teams find a way to get back in the game. Hopefully, this will help
us down the road."
"This is great training for us," Weight said. "I don't necessarily like
winning 2-1 or 3-2 or 3-2 in overtime. It takes a lot out of you. We're
practicing the way we're going to have to win in those big games against great
teams late in the year in March, April, May and June.
"We bend but we don't break. Games are going to be close and you have to
know how to win them."
Demitra scored on a nifty move in front of the net at 5:14 of the first
period. From the left corner, Murray Baron passed to Demitra, who faked right.
Huet went down to block the attempt, but Demitra went left around him and
popped the puck in for his 10th goal.
Nickulas deflected in Chris Pronger's wrist shot from the top of the left
circle at 17:44 for a 2-0 St. Louis lead.
"Our 2-0 leads are always early," Osgood said. "There's always a lot of
hockey left to be played."
There were nine penalties called in the second period. St. Louis had four
power-play chances and the Kings had three, but neither could take advantage.
The lone goal of the period came when Zigmund Palffy put back a rebound of his
own shot from the right circle at 2:46, cutting the Blues lead to 2-1.
The Blues have not given up a power-play goal in eight home games, killing
all 27 attempts. Overall, St. Louis has allowed just one power-play goal in
seven games, killing 26 short-handed situations.
St. Louis improved to 15-1-1 when leading after two periods.
The Blues went 0-for-6 on the power play.
"We played real hard for 40 minutes but we shot ourselves in the foot in
the first period," Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said. "We didn't have all of
our good players playing real hard in the first period."