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Reeling Blues head to Los Angeles

by Brian Compton /
BLUES (20-16-6) at KINGS (23-18-1)

TV: Fox Sports-Midwest, Fox Sports-West.

Last 10: St. Louis 5-4-1; Los Angeles 4-6-0.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. St. Louis earned a 6-4 victory against Los Angeles on Dec. 16 at the Scottrade Center, as Alex Steen broke a 4-4 tie with 2:53 remaining in regulation. The teams will meet again in St. Louis next Tuesday.

Big Story: We're nearly two weeks into 2011, and the Blues still searching for their first win (0-4-1). They were pummeled in Anaheim on Wednesday night, as Bobby Ryan recorded a hat trick in a 7-4 decision at the Honda Center.

"You've got to work your way out of it and be smart about it," Blues center Alexander Steen said. "We have another game (Thursday) against L.A., and we have to redeem ourselves. We've just gotten away from doing the little things right consistently throughout the 60 minutes."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles has won only four of its last 10 games and is currently three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Kings, projected by some to go on a nice run in the playoffs this year, needs to start playing more consistent hockey.

"We're not where we need to be, if we want to have success,'' Kings alternate captain Matt Greene said. "It's a wake-up call for a lot of guys. It needs to be. We've got to turn things around right now, in a hurry, or else this is going to slip away from us.''

Team Scope:

Blues: Wednesday night marked the beginning of a three-game trip in California, and the opener did not go as planned for St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak was given the night off, and Ty Conklin made just 17 saves in the loss.

"You look at the start they got off to, they got a pretty good jump on us," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "We made some mental mistakes early that cost us. ... It's one thing not to have your legs going early, but the mental preparation has to be better."

Kings: While St. Louis is still seeking its first win in 2011, the Kings have only won once in five tries. They were unable to build off last Saturday's 6-4 win against Columbus as the Toronto Maple Leafs marched into the Staples Center and eked out a 3-2 decision on Monday. Los Angeles has only two games remaining on its season-long eight-game homestand.

"There's no panic in here, but there has to be more desperation,'' Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "I'm not worried about the standings right now, but we are certainly digging ourselves into a huge hole. This homestand was a chance for us to move up in the standings, not down.''

Who's Hot: Blues forward David Backes scored twice on Wednesday night, giving him 14 goals on the season. He now has three goals in his last two games. … Kings forward Jarret Stoll has two goals and two assists in his last three contests.

Injury Report: Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was hit in the face by a puck off the stick of Anaheim's Matt Beleskey during the first period Wednesday night and did not return. St. Louis will be without David Perron (post-concussion syndrome), T.J. Oshie (ankle), Andy McDonald (concussion) and Dave Scatchard (knee). … Scott Parse (hip) is out for Los Angeles.

Stat Pack: The third period on Wednesday night in Anaheim featured a prolonged brawl that included six combined goals, 70 penalty minutes, four fights and two misconduct penalties. Even defenseman Eric Brewer got involved, as he dropped the gloves with Luca Sbisa. … Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi picked up his 10th assist of the season on Monday. He had a total of 15 in 2009-10.

Puck Drop: "There's a lot of hockey to be played. We need to figure out what we need to do here, and turn it around. There's a lot of hockey to be played, but this homestand was really important. We definitely let the opportunity slip by, playing at home." -- Kings captain Dustin Brown
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