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Something's got to give for Kings or Blues

by Brian Compton
KINGS (24-20-1) at BLUES (21-17-6)

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

Last 10: Los Angeles 2-8-0; St. Louis 4-5-1.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. St. Louis has won the last two matchups, most recently earning a 3-1 win last Thursday at the Staples Center. The Blues also skated away with a 6-4 victory on Dec. 16 at the Scottrade Center.

Big Story: Los Angeles suffered yet another tough loss on Monday night at Dallas. Trailing 2-1 in the final minute of regulation, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson was denied on a penalty shot thanks to a sliding pad save by Kari Lehtonen. The loss was the eighth in 10 games for Los Angeles, which has dropped into last place in the Pacific Division.

"At the top of the circle I saw how far out he was," Johnson said. "I didn't see a lot to shoot at, figured I'd deke him, and he made a good save. It's a guessing game on both parts. Sometimes you're a winner, sometimes you're a loser. I thought I made a good move at him, but he made a better save."

Team Scope:

Kings: If Los Angeles is going to climb back into a playoff spot in the Western Conference, it's going to have to win some games on the road. Monday's loss at Dallas began a stretch of 13 of 16 games away from the Staples Center. The Kings are now 9-12-0 away from home.

"We had a chance," coach Terry Murray said after Monday's loss. "The goaltender makes a good save. That was about all there was to the opportunity. There's lots going on around the net. It's close to going in. The referee makes a good call on it and we get the penalty shot. We don't score. It's like a shootout."

Blues: St. Louis was unable to end its trip to California on a winning note Saturday night, when the Blues dropped a 4-2 decision to the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. B.J. Crombeen and Erik Johnson scored for St. Louis, which has lost six of its last seven games.

"Our Anaheim game, we didn't like much about it," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "We got ourselves collected for the L.A. game, played a very good hockey game there. Then I thought two of our three periods here tonight were pretty good hockey for us, but that's not enough to win when you've got a team (in San Jose) that's hungry to end a losing streak."

Who's Hot: Crombeen has goals in back-to-back games after finding the back of the net only three times in the first 42 contests.

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

Stat Pack: St. Louis ranks 25th in the League in face-off winning percentage at 48.4 percent.

Puck Drop: "I think any kid dreams of playing for their hometown team. Just growing up in St. Louis, I was a Blues fan my entire life. If there was a team I could have been drafted to, I was definitely thrilled that the Blues picked me." -- Blues forward Phil McRae

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