The empty netter by Los Angeles Kings Dustin Penner at the end of the third period sealed the fate of the St. Louis Blues, as the Kings go up 1-0 in the series, beating the Blues 3-1. Not what the Blues fans were looking for, after they came out like gang busters in the first period.
The Blues came out of the gate tonight with all cylinders firing, while the LA Kings seemed to be suffering jet lag, to boot. David Backes’ goal, scored on a deflection at 9:16 in the first period, was the Blues only goal of the game and not enough. However, this loss is not the end of the world for the Blues, who also dropped game one of the first round versus the San Jose Sharks.
St. Louis Blues goalie, Brian Elliott, finished the night with 26 saves. The Blues were at a major disadvantage in the third period, being on the penalty kill for six consecutive minutes. First, there was a double-minor high sticking on T.J. Oshie, which was then followed by a two minute delay of game call on Kevin Shattenkirk.
Also stalling any late game heroics was the loss of Alex Pietrangelo, who was checked from behind by Dwight King, into the boards. After being removed from the game to be evaluated, he never returned. It is unknown as of right now what the extent of his injuries are, but there is discussion that the NHL officiating crew missed blood running down his face. Had blood been seen, it would’ve led to an automatic five-minute major and game misconduct.
Backes’ deflection goal in the first period served to end Jonathan Quick’s shutout streak of 1:05:38 against St. Louis, dating to Feb. 3, 2012 when the Blues won 1-0 on a goal by Jamie Langenbrunner. The Blues also scored first for the fourth time in six games in the postseason.
Once again, the Kings and goalie Jonathan Quick prove that they still have the Blues number. Quick shut out the Blues twice in the regular season and allowed eight goals on 172 shots in first round of the playoffs.
The Kings tied up the game on a goal by Slava Voynov at 16:58. After losing a battle for the puck with Penner, Barret Jackman coughed up the puck and Voynov made sure to take advantage. Elliott just could not get there in time to stop the Voynov shot.
There is still plenty of hope for the Blues. Both Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak shut out the Kings in the regular season. The Blues just need to come out in game two and play like they really want it. Tonight, other than coming out strong in the first period, they really did not look like they were in to this game at all.
Notable fans in the crowd … several of the St. Louis Cardinals players were in the house, and were featured on the jumbo-tron at the game. Kyle McClellan showed up decked out in a David Backes jersey. Shortstop Rafael Furcal and right fielder Carlos Beltran were also in the house, attending their their first hockey game.