The No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings are making noise again, looking to pull off their second straight series upset. After knocking off the No. 1 seed Canucks in five games, the Kings advanced to face the No. 2 seed St. Louis Blues. As they did against Vancouver, the Kings jumped on the Blues early in the series and took Game 1 of the conference semifinals in St. Louis on Saturday night.
LA took a 2-1 lead with a minute remaining in the second period on a fabulous shorthanded goal by Matt Greene, created off a breakaway by Dustin Brown. St. Louis then took themselves out of it in the third period, committing a slew of penalties which handed LA a man-advantage with the one-goal lead. When they weren't trying to kill off a penalty, they had to deal with one of the best goaltenders in the league, the Kings' Jonathan Quick.
The Kings were on the power play for a significant chunk of time at the mid-point of the third period, as the Blues spent nearly six straight minutes in the box. T.J. Oshie was whistled for a four-minute high-sticking penalty when he caught Colin Fraser and drew blood. St. Louis successfully killed off the Oshie penalty, but six seconds into five-on-five play, Kevin Shattenkirk caught an awful break on a battle down in front of the crease. The Blues defenseman quickly tried to clear the puck from right in front of goaltender Brian Elliott, but the biscuit sailed over the glass on the backhand flip. St. Louis killed off the two minute delay-of-game penalty, but it took away a huge stretch of time to try and even it up.
One had to wonder how much gas was left in the Blues' tank after killing off eight minutes of penalty time over the first 12 minutes of the period. They still managed to get some good shots on Quick, but the Vezina finalist was up to the task and slammed the door to seal the win. Dustin Penner would add an empty netter with 15 seconds remaining to remove all doubt.
The Blues will try to even the series up in Game 2 on Monday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.
After 40 minutes in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the Los Angeles Kings lead the St. Louis Blues, 2-1. The Kings got a late shorthanded goal to take their first lead of the game into the second intermission.
LA continued their solid penalty kill, which is a big step up from what the Blues faced in the first round against the San Jose Sharks. The Kings easily killed off a Matt Greene penalty with about five minutes remaining in the period.
After a Dwight King boarding call, the Kings would do more than just kill off a penalty. LA scored a shorthanded goal with a minute remaining to jump up 2-1. Dustin Brown raced out after the first face off, streaking hard down the ice and cutting to the crease. Blues' goaltender Brian Elliot stuffed the shot with his left pad, but Greene, the Kings' defenseman who was aggressively pushing forward even on the penalty kill, cleaned up a loose puck off Brown's shot and popped the rebound up and over Elliot's pad for the score.
The Blues seemed to still be arguing for a four-minute penalty on the boarding call on King. They were caught off-guard immediately following the face-off, and Brown was there to pounce on the loose puck. The Blues will start the third period still on the power play, with a little under a minute remaining.
The Blues had a number of great scoring chances towards the end of the second, but the Kings defense stepped up to break them up, or St. Louis simply failed to get shots on net.
LA defenseman Alec Martinez went down to the ice to break up a two-on-one breakaway for St. Louis, shutting down the chance and breaking up a pass attempt by Jamie Langenbrunner. The Blues will look to break though early in the third on the power play to get this one back to even.
The St. Louis Blues, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, are hosting the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings, fresh off upsetting the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, in the conference semifinals on Saturday night. The Blues came out with early energy, trying to avoid the same fate as the Canucks, and got on the board first, but the Kings answered.
The Blues got an early power play after Mike Richards was given two minutes for cross-checking, but couldn't capitalize as the Kings had a nice penalty kill, diverting the threat. Six minutes later, David Perron broke through, putting one by Jonathan Quick. The Blues had three takeaways to the Kings' none, but couldn't manage more than that single goal despite having the clear advantage in the game.
Late in the period, however, just a couple minutes before halftime, Kings defender Slava Voynov got behind the Blues' defense on a beautiful feed from Dustin Penner to equalize the game. Now it doesn't matter how well the Blues played in that period, it's a brand new game for the next 40 minutes.