ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Keith Tkachuk appreciates the blue-collar attitude
displayed by teammate Dallas Drake.
Power-play goals by Tkachuk and Drake in the first period powered St. Louis
to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Drake did just about everything. Besides scoring his fourth goal, he also
had an assist, blocked a shot, and provided a key defensive play. He beat Trent
Klatt to the puck and cleared it out of the Blues zone.
"Dallas is an animal," Tkachuk said. "He deserves the hard hat we give
out every night. He puts himself in a bad situation every time out. More of us
should look to that for incentive because you want 20 of those guys."
Drake knows that's the only way he can be successful.
"If I don't play like that, and I've said it many times, I won't be in the
league very long," Drake said. "I'll be sitting at the end of a bench
somewhere. That's how I have to play to be successful. If I get away from that,
I get in trouble."
Blues coach Joel Quenneville likes just what Drake gives the team.
"Drake was great," Quenneville said. "He did everything. He blocked a
couple of key shots, got a good stick on one late in the game. He scored. So,
he did everything we're hoping for and more."
The Blues killed off three penalties to win for the sixth time in seven home
games. St. Louis is 8-2 at home and ranks first in the NHL in penalty-killing
there, having allowed just two power-play goals.
Tkachuk, who skated in his 800th NHL game, scored his 13th goal of the
season from the slot at 6:59 of the first. Tkachuk has scored eight times in
Kings center Eric Belanger tied it 1-1 when he snapped a backhander by
goalie Chris Osgood from the right circle at 12:45.
The Blues regained the lead at 16:44 when Drake alertly put in the rebound
of a shot by Eric Nickulas.
St. Louis scored on its second shot of the second period when Nickulas
picked up a loose puck at the right side of the crease. Nickulas skated to his
left and beat goalie Roman Cechmanek with a backhander at 8:13.
The Kings replaced Cechmanek with Cristobal Huet after he allowed three
goals on nine shots. In his previous two starts, Cechmanek allowed one goal in
each -- both wins.
"It's hockey and my job is to stop the puck," Cechmanek said. "When it's
3-1, the coach is trying to do something with the game."
Kings coach Andy Murray said the Blues outworked his club.
"We knew it would be a grind and check it out game," Murray said. "We're
two hardworking teams. We play a lot of the same and obviously their lineup has
a few more naturally gifted offensive players."
The Kings held a 28-21 shots advantage over the Blues, 11-1 when leading
after two periods.
Drake scored an empty-net goal at 18:38, giving the Blues a 4-1 lead. It was
Drake's 10th career two-goal game and his first since Nov. 9, 2002.