Blues hand Kings worst defeat of season, 7-2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The goals would not come, the losses mounted and the St. Louis Blues appeared trapped in a spiral.
They desperately needed something to turn their season — and playoff hopes — around. They might have found just that in a 7-2 demolishing of the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
“It took a toll on them, not scoring,” Blues goalie Jake Allen said. “We needed one of those games. I don’t know when the last time was we had a game like that.”
St. Louis, which had lost nine of its last 10 and averaged just 1.4 goals per game in that stretch, picked up goals from seven players to hand the Kings their worst loss of the season.
The five-goal margin matched the Blues’ biggest victories of the season.
Robert Bortuzzo, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Ivan Barbashev, Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyle Brodziak and Jaden Schwartz scored for the Blues. Allen made 40 saves.
“We needed a win,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “Obviously, when you can score some goals, what you hope is that some guys can build some confidence off that and carry a little momentum into our next one.”
The loss left Los Angeles one point back of Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card, and two points ahead of St. Louis. The Kings had not lost by more than four goals all season.
“Our fight on the puck was not at a playoff level if you expect to win this time of year,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “It’s a little concerning. It’s tough hockey this time of year. You see it every night.”
Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves before he was pulled after the second period, Los Angeles already down 4-1. Jack Campbell stopped 14 of 17 shots in the third.
“We got what we deserved,” the Kings’ Dion Phaneuf said. “When you get beat like this, you take it. You stand and look at it, and then you move forward.”
St. Louis’ first three goals were scored by defensemen.
“Your defense scores goals if your forwards are doing things the right way,” Yeo said. “We played a really strong game today and it gave us a chance.”
The Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Bortuzzo and Parayko.
The Kings briefly appeared as though they would make it a game when Doughty redirected Anze Kopitar’s pass by Allen, but St. Louis answered with goals off turnovers from Pietrangelo and Barbashev to end the period.
“We gift-wrapped it for them,” Stevens said.
Stevens changed goalies to start the third, a rare move with someone of Quick’s caliber.
But the Blues greeted Campbell with goals from Brodziak and Schwartz within the first minute of the third period, and the rout was on.
“We couldn’t check a hat tonight,” Stevens said.
Despite the results from the previous 10 games, Yeo said he sensed a big game coming.
“I felt good about today’s game,” Yeo said. “The way we approached yesterday, the focus I saw in our players, I had a good feeling.”
Yeo reunited Brayden Schenn, Tarasenko and Schwartz on the first line, a trio that started the season on a tear but hadn’t played together since December.
NOTES: Stevens removed F Alex Iafallo from the first line in the second period to the third line. “You can make your own conclusions on that one,” Stevens said. ... Schwartz had two assists to go with his 20th goal. ... Brown’s goal with 15 seconds left gave him 20 for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Blues: Remain in Southern California to visit Anaheim on Monday.
Kings: Complete a four-game homestand Monday against Vancouver.
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