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St. Louis' Ken Hitchcock says Drew Doughty is best in the series

The Blues coach points out the Los Angeles Kings defenseman's ability to absorb checks and get the puck out on his own. The Kings lead the Western Conference semifinals series, 3-0.

May 05, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • "You think you've got him pinned on the boards; he pulls it off the boards and makes the play," St. Louis Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said of Kings defensman Drew Doughty, above.
"You think you've got him pinned on the boards; he pulls it off… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Heroes for more than one day …

There are the often impenetrable Jonathan Quick of the Kings in goal and Kings captain Dustin Brown and his Blues counterpart David Backes with their ferocious physical give and take.

("Cripes," said St. Louis Coach Ken Hitchcock of their bone-rattling second-period collision in Game 3.)

But Hitchcock pointed to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty as the best player in this series. The Kings lead the Blues, 3-0, in the Western Conference semifinals and Game 4 is noon Sunday at Staples Center.

"I think the biggest thing that he does is absorb checks, gets the puck out on his own," said Hitchcock on Saturday after the Blues' practice. "That's what [Alex] Pietrangelo [of the Blues] does. It's a very unique skill. Certain defensemen, there's maybe 10 guys in the whole league that can do it. And Doughty and Pietrangelo are the two guys.

"They can absorb a check and lug out the puck out themselves. You can't find that very often. That's what he [Doughty] does. You think you've got him. He pulls away on you. You think you've got him pinned on the boards; he pulls it off the boards and makes the play. Both guys are great at it."

Wake up, L.A.

The Kings are one game from advancing past the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. Standing in the way are St. Louis, the alarm clock and the afternoon blues.

"We need some of our stars to be morning persons," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said.

Said Kings forward Justin Williams: "We know in this room we haven't won anything yet. We've gotta seize it."

They stayed in a hotel in Los Angeles the night before Game 3 and are doing the same before Game 4. Sutter joked about the difference in preparing for an afternoon game, saying: "I just fold my pajamas."

The Blues are modifying their lineup with two small changes. Defenseman Ian Cole will replace defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, and there will be a swap of fourth-liners, Ryan Reaves in for B.J. Crombeen.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com twitter.com/reallisa

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