The Kings may have discovered a new Triple Crown line. But they don't have a nickname for it yet.
The high-scoring line of center Marcel Dionne, right wing Dave Taylor and left wing Charlie Simmer was broken up last season when Simmer was traded to the Boston Bruins.
But left wing Joe Paterson, acquired earlier this season from the Philadelphia Flyers, is blending in well with Dionne and Taylor.
The Dionne-Taylor-Paterson line accounted for four goals as the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues, 6-3, Tuesday night at the Forum to move into third place in the Smythe Division.
Said King Coach Pat Quinn: "Third place, is that right?"
It's not a misprint, the Kings, who were in last place for much of the season, really are in third place.
The Kings, who are 2-0-1 in their last three games, moved one point ahead of the idle Winnipeg Jets. The Kings (15-24-6) have 36 points, while the Jets have 35 and the Vancouver Canucks have 34.
It's the highest they've been all season.
"Nicknames are for you guys (the media)," Quinn said when asked if he has thought of any nickname for the Dionne-Taylor-Paterson line.
"They have slowly been getting better. It took awhile for them to adjust to Joe coming in.
"I like the look of that line with Paterson. Paterson has the ability to go to the corners and the net. He is big, so he's hard to move out from in front of the net. And he gives Marcel and Dave the chance to play down low. That's what they're good at."
The Dionne-Taylor-Paterson line has combined for 49 points in the last eight games.
Dionne extended his scoring streak to six consecutive games with two goals and two assists. It was the third time in the last five games that Dionne has scored two goals. He has scored 26 goals in 45 games this season.
"I think it took awhile for Joe to adjust to playing with us," Dionne said. "And Dave is playing much better. But the key to our line is patience."
Taylor scored the Kings' first goal, and he also picked up an assist on a Dionne's second goal.
"We are starting to play pretty good,' Taylor said of his line. "You can probably compare Joe to Charlie (Simmer). Joe's a big, strong guy just like Charlie. Joe's playing with a lot more confidence. And they both like to go to the net and are good in the corners.
"We haven't had the success that we had with the Triple Crown line yet, but it's starting to come."
Paterson had a season-high three assists, giving him a career-high 11 assists in 19 games this season. His previous single-season high was five assists.
Paterson was traded to the Kings by the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 18 for future considerations. He has scored 16 points and has a five-game scoring streak with 3 goals and 6 assists.
"It's really great working with them (Dionne and Taylor)," Paterson said. "They've really helped me out. You just go to a spot and the puck will be there."
Defenseman Mark Hardy scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and left wing Morris Lukowich also scored a goal.
King goalie Bob Janecyk looked good, making 24 saves. He evened his season record at 11-11-3 and is 5-1-2 in his last 8 games. He has started 5 of the last 6 games and 12 of the last 14.
The Blues failed to score on five breakaways, including three in the first period, against Janecyk.
"Janecyk looked sharp, especially on the breakaways," Quinn said. "He was the key to the game for us."
Said St. Louis Coach Jacques Demers: "We had some good chances. But Janecyk made some good saves.
"We did not play bad hockey, they had some chances and scored, and we had some chances and we didn't score."
The Kings led, 4-0, in the second period before St. Louis center Bernie Federko scored back-to-back goals to close the gap to 4-2 going into the third period. Federko has four goals and seven assists in his last four games.
However, Hardy scored an unassisted power-play goal at 2:14 of the third period to give the Kings a 5-2 lead.
St. Louis defenseman Rob Ramage got a power-play goal with 3:49 left to narrow the score to 5-3.
Hardy closed out the scoring with a short-handed empty-net goal with two seconds left in the third period after the Blues had pulled goalie Greg Millen for an extra skater.
The Blues (19-19-6) have lost three straight games. They are tied with the Minnesota North Stars (18-20-8) for second place in the Norris Division.
The game marked the return of St. Louis center Doug Wickenheiser, who had been out since he tore up his left knee on March 13, 1985 in a snipe hunt, which is an initiation for new players.
At the time of surgery, it was estimated that Wickenheiser would be out for one full year. However, he beat the original projected return date by 52 days.
Wickenheiser didn't have a shot on goal in the game, but he took the Blues' first penalty when he was called for hooking at 7:23 of the first period.
"It would have been better if we had won," Wickenheiser said of his return to the ice. "But all things considered, it went well. The first game is over, so I'm past that hurdle. Now, I've got to concentrate on playing better and helping the team. It does no good to just take up the sweater."
The Kings play the Blues again Thursday night at the Forum before going on the road for games in Edmonton on Saturday night and in Calgary next Monday. They return to the Forum next Wednesday for one game against the Minnesota North Stars. The Kings have a home record 6-14-3. The win against the Blues was their first home victory in 1986. They had lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-4, on Jan. 2 and the New York Rangers, 4-3, last Wednesday before tying the Vancouver Canucks, 4-4, last Saturday night.