See that puck in the net behind Jonathan Quick? That gave the Blues a 2-1 lead… (Jeff Roberson / Associated…)
ST. LOUIS -- Greetings from rainy St. Louis.
The Kings returned to Los Angeles after their 2-1 loss to the Blues Thursday night at the Scottrade Center, with their charter arriving at about 2:30 a.m. They’re scheduled to practice at noon at El Segundo, but it’s likely that most players will stick to off-ice workouts in order to conserve their energy for Game 3, which is to be played on Saturday at Staples Center.
A few tidbits left over from Thursday’s loss, which gave the Blues a 2-0 playoff series lead:
Blues goaltender Brian Elliott gave up only one goal for the fifth straight game and the eighth time in his last nine games. Like Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, Elliott struggled early this season, but both have straightened out their games.
Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said the series' level of intensity and the level of play have been exceptionally high. “Every shift seems like it’s the last shift on Earth. That’s the way both teams are going at it,” he said.
The winning goal was scored Thursday by Blues defenseman Barret Jackman, who connected on a three-on-two rush while Kings defenseman Drew Doughty screened Quick. It was the first career playoff goal for Jackman, who’s 32 and was playing in his 22nd NHL playoff game.
“I just kind of came back and the d-man was in the way and I was just trying to put the puck on net with two guys going,” he said Thursday.
He not only put it on net, he put it past Quick’s glove.
“The pass went across the ice and that was the right place to give that shot up. He just made a good shot,” Doughty said. “There’s nothing you can do.”
Hitchcock called Jackman “the glue of the hockey club,” and praised the veteran defenseman for being on top of his game when the Blues needed it most.
“Playoffs are for veteran players, and I’m really happy the last couple of years for Jacks that he was able to participate,” Hitchcock said.
For the Blues, winning the first two games is a major accomplishment after being swept out of the teams’ second-round playoff series last spring. But Jackman said he and his teammates aren’t looking ahead to anything but Game 3.
“It’s still only two games. You’ve got to win four to move on,” he said. “You can’t be too confident. You look at the next game and come out and play.”
The question now becomes whether the Kings will make any changes for Game 3.
Defenseman Matt Greene was scratched the first two games, though he’s healthy enough to practice; the other spares were defenseman Alec Martinez and forwards Brad Richardson and Tyler Toffoli.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter reconfigured his lines in Game 2 to reunite the Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams trio but got only a five-on-three power-play goal from Brown out of that move.
Williams was credited with a game-high eight shots and had some good chances, but the Kings can’t wait forever for their offense to awaken after scoring only once in each of the first two games.
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