LOS ANGELES – Despite having four days of rest and firing 43 shots on goal, the St. Louis Blues couldn’t top Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings.
Quick made 43 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping the Blues’ T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko in the shootout to lead the Kings to a 1-0 win against the Blues on Thursday at Staples Center.
It was the type of hard-earned win befitting of Quick tying Rogie Vachon for the Kings record with his 32nd shutout.
“What he meant to this franchise, everybody knows,” Quick said of Vachon. “I don’t buy into a lot of statistics – just the wins is something that means a lot to the guys here and to myself. It’s nice and it’s humbling to be put in that category, but at the same time, it’s a team effort. To shut a team out for 60 minutes, that takes 20 guys. It’ll be my name that goes next to the shutout, but it's 100 percent the group that went out there today."
Jeff Carter scored the deciding goal on St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott in the shootout to lift Los Angeles to its third straight win, all at home. Quick perhaps made his finest stop with a glove save on Jay Bouwmeester late in the third to help get the game to overtime.
The Kings were 21 seconds from a shutout in their previous game, a 6-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
“I wish we did it the last game,” Carter said. “We could have broke the record [for Quick] tonight. That’s a great accomplishment for him. There’s goIng to be many more, I’m sure. We know what Quickie brings to this team. He deserves it.”
Elliott made glove saves on Jordan Nolan and Drew Doughty early in the third period and had 18 saves for the game. He was beaten in the shootout by Carter’s wrist shot, of which he said, “I’ve never seen that move before.”
The game was similar to a 1-0 Kings shootout win against the Blues on March 22, 2012, at Staples Center. Quick and Elliott were the goalies in that game, and Carter also scored the deciding goal in the tiebreaker.
“I don’t know what it is,” Elliott said. “It doesn’t happen often and it’s happened twice here. It’s kind of the way we match up, I guess. We’ve got to take that next step. When you get 40-plus shots on a good team in their building, you can take a lot of positives away from that. You’re going to win a lot of games doing that.”
Oshie, who was Quick’s teammate with the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, nearly won it in overtime, but his shot rang off the right post. He was also stopped as the Blues’ first shooter in the shootout, but he attributed the game’s result more to the Blues’ failure to finish on their chances than Quick’s performance.
“He played good, but there was some shots that we missed,” Oshie said. “The net was wide open [when I] cut back in overtime and I had a wide open net, so I just got to slide that in. I don’t believe he touched it.
“I think we sent a message to them tonight. We did a good job tonight. We played how we want to. We just have to put pucks in the net.”
The teams combined to go 0-for-8 on the power play. The Kings were 0-for-4 with four shots total and fell to 1-for-18 (5.6 percent) with the man advantage on the season. At even strength, they had two great chances late in the second, but Carter couldn’t convert and Dwight King opted not to shoot when he got the puck deep on the right side.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock shook up their lines during the game. Notably, Sutter broke up the highly effective line of Carter, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli and mixed up all four lines by the third. Hitchcock swapped right wings Tarasenko and Joakim Lindstrom on his second and third lines.
“I was just trying to get some energy or something,” Sutter said. “A lot of our guys struggled with the energy levels. I was just trying to find something different.”
St. Louis defensemen were involved in two key plays in the second. Ian Cole beat Quick but his shot hit the crossbar, and partner Alex Pietrangelo prevented an Anze Kopitar breakaway.
Hitchcock, who took the Blues to nearby Palm Desert for a getaway during their four-day layoff, said not finishing was related to that time off.
“I think that’s the rust,” Hitchcock said. “It’s not playing enough. This is our third game of the year. We had a lot of chances, we had a lot of scoring opportunities, but we will get better on those things as we move forward. I thought what was really evident was some of our bigger players had a slow start and then got going. … When you take as much time off as we do, it’s difficult.”
Despite being off since Saturday, when they defeated the Calgary Flames 4-0, the Blues held the Kings to one shot in the first eight minutes. The Kings, who had outscored their opponents by a total of 7-2 in the first periods of their first four games, went scoreless on two early power plays and had 10 giveaways in the first period.