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X-Factor: Blues a better team when Perron chips in

by Adam Kimelman

When David Perron joined the Blues' lineup in December after getting over his concussion issues, it invigorated the team's offense.

For the Blues to advance past the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Semifinals, he'll have to make a similar impact.

Perron was second on the team with 21 goals while playing just 57 regular-season games, but contributed just one goal and two assists in the Blues' five-game first-round series win against the San Jose Sharks.

The goal was a big one, however. Just 45 seconds after Jamie Langenbrunner scored at 11:16 of the third period to tie Game 5, Perron fed a pass to Alex Pietrangelo at the right point in the San Jose end, and then skated through the high slot to redirect Pietrangelo's shot past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi for the go-ahead goal with 8:59 left in regulation.

The hope is he can rediscover that flair for the dramatic in the second round.

David Perron
David Perron
Left Wing - STL
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 10 | +/-: 0
In fact, the Blues will need more from Perron's entire line. David Backes had just one goal and T.J. Oshie three assists in the five games. The second line of Patrik Berglund, Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald carried the Blues offensively against the Sharks, scoring eight of the team's 14 first-round goals.

The Blues clearly are a better team when Perron contributes -- they went 14-3-2 in the regular season when he had a goal.

And he's certainly capable of going on a hot streak -- he closed the regular season with nine goals and three assists in his last 15 games.

One other item that works in his favor is a lack of familiarity -- Perron has played just two games against the Kings in the last two seasons.

"I think it is an advantage," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Not knowing the opposition is a disadvantage. If you don't know what they're going to bring, you haven't played against them, I think it is an advantage for us. It's one we've got to use."

The Kings allowed just eight goals in five games against the Canucks in the first round -- tied with the Blues for the fewest in the postseason -- and in the last two games between the teams in the regular season, the final score was 1-0 -- with one game going to a shootout.

So goals will be at a premium in the series, making contributions from offensive-minded players like Perron that much more important.

"We feel like we've got a little bit more offense to bring," Hitchcock said. "We've got a little bit more skill to bring to the game here and I think we're going to need it, I think we're really going to need it."

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