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St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings

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GAME: St. Louis Blues (33-27-10-2) at Los Angeles Kings (28-20-16-7).

TIME: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

If Los Angeles wants to hold off St. Louis for one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference, it will have to do something it has accomplished only once in the last two seasons - beat the Blues.

St. Louis and Los Angeles continue their battle for one of the remaining postseason spots in the West when they meet for the fourth and final time this season.

Los Angeles is tied with the Nashville Predators for seventh place in the West, but St. Louis is just one point behind both clubs in ninth.

Both the Kings and Blues have played well lately, but St. Louis comes into this contest with four straight wins in the series with Los Angeles.

The Blues have won all three meetings this season and are 6-1 in the series since the 2002-03 season.

"Everybody will make a big thing about the fact that it's St. Louis coming in here, but it could be anyone," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "Even if we were playing a team that was not contending for that playoff spot, we would still need to get points. But St. Louis is playing very well, so we'll have to be at our best to get points against them."

Los Angeles won for the third time in four games Sunday, beating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 5-1 as Luc Robitaille, Trent Klatt and defenseman Nathan Dempsey each had a goal and two assists.

St. Louis had its six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2) snapped on Sunday with a 3-2 home loss to the Calgary Flames. The Blues, who have 11 games remaining, fell four points behind the sixth-place Flames in the conference.

St. Louis has reached the postseason for 24 consecutive years - the longest professional sports streak - and coach Mike Kitchen knows his team needs a win over the Kings on Tuesday if it wants to extend that run to 25 years.

"If you win these games, you can move ahead of them or close the gap," Kitchen said.

STANDINGS: Blues - 78 points, 3rd place, 18 PB, Central Division. Kings - 79 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Keith Tkachuk, 29 goals and 65 points; Doug Weight, 46 assists; Mike Danton, 141 PIM. Kings - Alexander Frolov, 23 goals; Robitaille and Jozef Stumpel, 27 assists; Robitaille, 48 points; Sean Avery, 236 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 14): Blues - Power play: 17.7 percent (55 for 310), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (288 for 341), 13th. Kings - Power play: 13.6 percent (43 for 317), 27th. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (245 for 302), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Chris Osgood (25-23-8, 2 SO, 2.27 GAA); Reinhard Divis (4-3-1, 3.09). Kings - Cristobal Huet (10-10-10, 3, 2.40); Milan Hnilicka (0-1-0, 3.75).

SEASON SERIES: Blues, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 13; Blues, 2-1. At St. Louis, Pavol Demitra and former Blues player Eric Nickulas scored first-period goals, and Osgood made 21 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 13-17-3-2 on the road; Kings - 15-10-9-1 at home.


Associated Press
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