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Trevor Lewis' hard work pays off in Kings' victory

Forward is credited with first regular season goals since March as Kings end road losing streak by beating Blues, 4-1.

January 16, 2014|By Helene Elliott

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ST. LOUIS — Darryl Sutter offered his first few comments Thursday in a dry monotone, suggesting he didn't care to analyze the Kings' 4-1 victory over the Blues and that he had one foot on the team bus out of Scottrade Center.

But when Trevor Lewis' name was mentioned, the Kings' coach dropped his impassive expression and pumped his fist, savoring the success of a hard-working forward whose contributions rarely show up on the scoresheet.

Lewis was credited with the Kings' second goal — a shot that deflected off the foot of Blues forward Jaden Schwartz and was initially awarded to Dwight King — and made an excellent play to score the third goal while the team was short-handed, helping the Kings end their five-game road losing streak and fend off the surging Blues.

BOX SCORE: Kings 4, St. Louis 1

Those were Lewis' first regular-season goals since last March 28 at St. Louis, though he did score one playoff goal. His production Thursday was a big boost for a team that often gets too little scoring from its bottom-six forwards — or anyone else, for that matter.

"I'm glad they changed that first one," Sutter said, smiling broadly. "I've just got to tell him he can't let it go to his head.

"We needed it."

In a game that featured more than a dozen players who will represent their countries in the upcoming Sochi Olympics, it was Lewis — who was invited to the U.S. orientation camp but didn't make the final roster — who stood out.

Of course, the Kings (29-14-5) wouldn't have won without a 28-save performance from U.S. Olympic pick Jonathan Quick, who was beaten Thursday only on a second-period penalty shot by future Olympic teammate T.J. Oshie. A groin strain had kept Quick out of the Kings' last game against the Blues, a 5-0 loss here on Jan. 2, and he's 4-1-1 since his return.

"He's the best goalie in the world," King said.

But Lewis was the inspiration, the engine, behind this victory.

"He works so hard. He does a lot of the details within our game, within our system," center Jarret Stoll said. "A lot of stuff doesn't get noticed when you're writing articles or seeing highlights on TV, but for a teammate, for how he works, he's great teammate, so it's great to see him get rewarded."

Defenseman Jake Muzzin had given the Kings the lead at 2:31 of the first period, with a shot from above the left circle. Oshie brought the Blues even on the penalty shot, at 5:55 of the second period, an opportunity he gained after Muzzin pulled him down from behind on a breakaway. Oshie rifled a wrist shot between Quick's leg pads, and the crowd of 19,374 gained new hope the Blues would beat the team that had conquered them in the playoffs the last two seasons.

But Lewis silenced them and gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 2:04 of the third period, shooting the puck on net and benefiting from the lucky carom.

"I really had to work for that first one, but I got it, so it feels good and it's a big win," Lewis said.

He extended the Kings' lead to 3-1 at 4:21. Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak came out of his net to play the puck during a power play, but it bounced away from him and he couldn't touch it outside the restricted area. He tried to get back in position but failed.

"I knew that he was right next to the goal line, so I knew if it got any sort of hop he couldn't play it," Lewis said. "So I was just going after him. Luckily it did get a little hop and I got a good wraparound."

Jeff Carter scored into an empty net with 56 seconds left to leave the Blues frustrated over another loss to the Kings.

"I'm kind of getting sick of watching it," Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They come up big. If we're going to figure this out, we're going to have to get more people coming up a lot bigger."

Thanks to Lewis, the Kings supplemented their strong puck-possession game and solid defense with a rare big scoring night.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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