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Preview: Blues at Kings

Los Angeles looks to gain on St. Louis in wild-card race

by Forrest Lee / Correspondent

BLUES (35-27-5) at KINGS (33-28-6)

10 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, FS-W, FS-MW, NHL.TV


Blues team scope

The St. Louis Blues have won four in a row after losing five straight and are three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "Everybody's got to be pulling their weight, no matter what their role is on the team," forward Alexander Steen said, according to the Post-Dispatch. "It's a huge game for us, a huge opportunity to get more of a gap on these guys. We'll be looking to come out determined and hungry and quick." St. Louis is coming off a 4-3 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday and is averaging 3.25 goals per game during its winning streak. The game against the Kings is the first of a five-game road trip. Center Paul Stastny, who didn't play Saturday because of an illness, is expected to be back in the lineup. Goalie Jake Allen, who is 2-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in his career against the Kings, likely will start.


Kings team scope

Goalie Jonathan Quick is expected to start. He is 4-0-1 since returning after missing 59 games because of a groin injury. Quick made 17 saves in a 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. "We know the task at hand and we know that we're in a battle and we know we have to play hockey," said defenseman Alec Martinez, who had two assists against the Capitals. "We have to prepare for every game as if it's our last." The Kings have scored eight power-play goals in their past five games. Los Angeles has killed 50 of 53 penalties (94.3 percent) in the past 21 games, best in the League during that span. The Kings are fourth overall in penalty-killing (84.9 percent). Forward Jarome Iginla is one game shy of passing Johnny Bucyk (1,540) for 13th all-time in games played in the NHL. Defenseman Drew Doughty is one game shy of passing Mike Murphy (673) for ninth in Kings history. Los Angeles has won three of four to begin its seven-game homestand.


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen --- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Ivan Barbashev -- Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Jordan Schmaltz, Zach Sanford, Nail Yakupov

Injuries: Jori Lehtera (upper body), Robby Fabbri (knee)


Kings projected lineup

Jarome Iginla -- Anze Kopitar -- Marian Gaborik

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Adrian Kempe -- Dustin Brown -- Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Andy Andreoff

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Brayden McNabb -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Kevin Gravel

Injuries: Jordan Nolan (undisclosed), Nick Shore (upper body)


Status report

Parayko (undisclosed) missed the game Saturday, but participated in the morning skate on Monday. ... Lehtera is not traveling with the team, and it is unknown whether he will miss the entire trip. … Nolan and Shore did not take part in the morning skate.


Who's hot

Tarasenko has four goals in his past three games. ... Schwartz, who is second on the Blues with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists), has five assists in his past four games and 10 in his past 13. ... Kopitar, who leads the Kings in assists with 31, has three goals in the past four games and seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven. ... Gaborik has a goal in each of the past two games.

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