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Hockey playoffs 2013: Kings hope to break home-ice advantage

May 08, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • David Backes of St. Louis collides with Robyn Regehr of the Kings in Game 3.
David Backes of St. Louis collides with Robyn Regehr of the Kings in Game… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

ST. LOUIS — Greetings from St. Louis, where the Blues just finished their morning skate in preparation for Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series against the Kings on Wednesday night.

So far, home teams have won each game, leaving the teams tied 2-2. Wednesday’s game will start at 6 p.m. Pacific time and will be televised in Los Angeles on FS West. Game 6 will be played at Staples Center on Friday with a 7 p.m. start on Prime Ticket.

One interesting note from the Blues’ skate Wednesday: David Backes didn’t participate, and Coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn’t comment on his big center’s status. However, Jaden Schwartz, Backes’ usual left wing, said Backes “will be ready” for the game.

It’s likely Backes missed the skate for treatment of some sore spot. In a bruising series like this, many players apply ice bags to a knee, shoulder or arm after games. Others probably have injuries that won't be disclosed until the season is over.

The Blues are expected to make one lineup change, taking out winger Vladimir Tarasenko and restoring fourth-line winger Adam Cracknell.

Hitchcock was still regretful over Game 4 at Staples Center, in which the Blues had leads of 2-0 and 3-2 but couldn’t hold on. Their defensive play disintegrated badly in the third, when the Kings scored twice to secure the 4-3 victory that tied the series.

The Blues were trying to force their offense, he said, and they paid the price for it.

“When we had the 2-0 lead we started trying to apply the knockout punch and got caught,” he said. “We’ve done that a little bit this year.  That’s one thing we’re guilty of: we tried to hit the knockout punch way too early and got caught pushing down and gave up odd-man rushes and let them back in the game. And when you give up odd-man rushes on the road they usually end up in your net.

“They get swept up on the emotion of the game. We gave up the wrong chances to the wrong people.”

We’ll have more coverage later, with notes from the Kings’ skate.

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