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Voynov's OT goal gives Kings 3-2 series lead vs. Blues

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- The defending Stanley Cup champs have roared back in their series against the St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Through the first four games, the home team held serve. The Los Angeles Kings became very rude guests Wednesday night.

Slava Voynov's second goal eight minutes into overtime gave the Kings a 3-2 win in Game 5 of Western Conference Quarterfinals at Scottrade Center, their third win in a row.

Voynov, who had one career playoff goal in 20 previous postseason games, finished off a play after the Kings started an odd-man rush.

The Kings broke out and Voynov beat Blues goalie Brian Elliott as the Kings won their third straight to grab a 3-2 series lead.

"I saw that it was a 3-on-2 and I jumped the rush on the right side," Voynov said. "It was a nice pass from [Anze Kopitar].

"I tried shooting it high glove (side) but with a little but of luck ... wherever. Everybody is excited we won the game and get to go home for the next game."

The Blues got caught on a pinch, something that plagued them in a Game 4 loss in Los Angeles on a couple goals.

"We [were] trying to score, and we got caught on a play on the wall, got beat up the ice from the guy that scored the goal below the goal line," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He won the race up the ice."

The Blues, who won the first two games of the series in St. Louis, got the equalizing goal from Alex Pietrangelo with 44.1 seconds remaining and felt as if though they had momentum.

"To tie the game with that much time left, a real good feeling, but again, a tough time to lose," Pietrangelo said. "It's tough to lose in overtime when you're that close. We've just got to go in there and get the win [in Game 6] and win on home ice on Monday."

The defending champs can advance to the second round of the postseason with a victory in Game 6 Friday at Staples Center, where they've won nine straight.

"Another one-goal game, but we came out on top," said Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who stopped 34 shots. "We've got another one to win, so we're going to go home and get our rest tomorrow and get ready for the following day.

"We've still got a lot of work to do so we're going to get ready for this next one."

Jeff Carter scored twice, Mike Richards and Kopitar each had two assists as the Kings snapped an eight-game road losing streak dating back to the regular season.

Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, and Elliott stopped 22 shots as the Blues saw their eight-game home winning streak snapped.

"It was our best effort collectively," Hitchcock said. "It was our best effort of the year. ... We got a heck of an effort from everybody across the board. We had no passengers today. We had an all-in mentality. Other than probably six minutes into the third period, we poured a lot of pucks at them.

"Probably, if you're lamenting anything is that we missed the net on some shots that gave them some exits that could have even kept them in the zone for longer periods of time. Once we started really dialing it up, I was really impressed with the way we played."

Carter got his second of the game and third in two games when he took Kopitar's cross-ice feed on the power play and snapped a shot into the open side 54 seconds into the third period for a 2-1 Kings lead. Richards was able to freely get into the Blues' zone without much resistance before getting the puck to Kopitar, who made the final pass.

"He scored two big goals," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Carter. "He's done that two games in a row. When it's 2-0 [in Game 4], he gets the one that makes it 2-1 in L.A. and then tonight the goal at the start of the third."

Added Carter: "The second one we talked about going out for two minutes with fresh ice on the power play. We talked about going out and getting a goal and to be honest with you, we weren't very sharp. We really didn't get set up. They kept the pressure on, but we just got a little rush set up and [Kopitar] snapped it back to me and it was a gift, open net."

It marked the first time in nine games (dating back to April 14) the Blues have allowed more than one goal in a home game. They allowed exactly one goal in eight straight contests.

With Elliott pulled for an extra attacker, David Backes won a crucial faceoff from Jarret Stoll back to Pietrangelo, the Blues' defenseman skated to the middle of the ice and fired a wrister through traffic past a screened Quick with 44.1 seconds remaining to tie it 2-2.

"It was a good faceoff by [Backes]," Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said. "Just went back to Petro and there were probably four or five guys in front of the net. It went through a lot of bodies and went in."

The Blues held a 9-3 shots advantage for the first part of the opening period and dictated the tempo, but were unable to solve Quick.

Los Angeles jumped ahead just 14 seconds into the second period when Carter popped home Drew Doughty's point shot after winning the faceoff himself. Carter won the draw from T.J. Oshie, who replaced Patrik Berglund after getting kicked out of the faceoff circle. Carter won the draw to Doughty and split the Blues' defense and knocked in the rebound after Elliott made the initial save.

But the Blues got the equalizer when Steen got his third of the series on pure persistence. Steen had a break-in moments earlier after picking Jake Muzzin's pocket and was stopped on a wraparound attempt. The Blues continued to pressure and Steen was able to curl around the net after thwarting off Muzzin again, use Oshie as a bit of a screen and snap one over Quick's stick 6:46 into the second to tie it 1-1.

"The first one was just a great play by Doughty to get it into the net and I got a rebound," Carter said of his first goal. "It was just a greasy goal."

In the end, another one-goal game in a series with little margin for error.

"I think its very important for us to win on the road because we played so hard the last couple of games here in St. Louis so it will be a little bit easier for us to play in L.A. where our fans are there," Voynov said. "Everybody is excited we won the game and get to go home for the next game."

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