Kings' Kyle Clifford knocks down St. Louis Blues' Roman Polak… (Harry How / Getty Images )
The Kings won all three of their games this season to extend their winning streak against the Blues to eight, including a sweep of their second-round playoff series last spring. The Kings recorded a 4-1 victory on Feb. 11 at St. Louis, a 6-4 victory at Staples Center on March 5, and a 4-2 decision on March 28 at St. Louis. The Feb. 11 triumph started an 11-3 surge for the Kings and turned things around for them after a dismal 3-5-2 start. Jeff Carter led both teams with three goals in the three games.
KINGS: Anze Kopitar 10 goals, 42 points; Justin Williams 11 goals, 33 points; Jeff Carter 26 goals, 33 points.
BLUES: Chris Stewart 18 goals, 36 points; David Backes six goals, 28 points; Alexander Steen, eight goals, 27 points.
KINGS: Jonathan Quick: 18-13-4, 2.45 goals-against average, .902 save percentage. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs last season, but back surgery last summer prevented him from approaching that form until recently.
BLUES: Brian Elliott: 14-8-1, 2.28 goals-against average, .907 save percentage. He had a terrible start — 2-6-1 with a 3.65 goals-against average and .851 save percentage — but turned things around after a conditioning stint in the minor leagues.
KINGS: 83.2% (10th); BLUES: 84.7% (seventh).
KINGS: 19.9% (10th); BLUES 19.5% (12th).
KINGS: They couldn't set their lines and defense pairs in their final regular-season games because Dustin Brown was serving a two-game suspension imposed by the NHL for elbowing Minnesota's Jason Pominville in the head and because defenseman Matt Greene missed the finale with an undisclosed injury. Coach Darryl Sutter said Greene's injury was not a long-term problem.
BLUES: Their additions of defensemen Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester helped turn around a team that struggled early. They acquired Leopold and Bouwmeester after they completed their season series with the Kings.
Last time in the playoffs:
KINGS: 2012. They became the first No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup, defeating Vancouver in five games, St. Louis in four, Phoenix in five and New Jersey in six.
BLUES: 2012. They defeated the San Jose Sharks in five games in the first round and were swept out of the second round by the Kings.
They said it:
KINGS: Quick said his team's winning streak against the Blues means nothing. "We both start at 0-0," he said. "And we're going to have to outwork them. They've got some big forwards, strong forwards, they go hard to the net. Strong on the back end, a couple skilled guys that can really create stuff on the power play, and obviously they've got great goaltending."
BLUES: "We earned this," Coach Ken Hitchcock said Saturday after his team clinched fourth place. "We fought hard to get back in this and I think that reality check of waking up one morning and just assuming you're going to be in the playoffs and then all of the sudden, you're sitting there in ninth place, is exactly what this team needed."