For the second consecutive day, the Los Angeles Kings controlled play for large portions of a 60 minute game. The only difference Monday was that they came out with a favorable result. After losing a close game to the Detroit Red Wings Sunday afternoon, the Kings rebounded to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Monday at Scottrade Center.
Kings forward Jeff Carter scored twice and defenseman Slava Voynov had two assists, helping the Kings improve their record to 4-5-2 on the season. Los Angeles played well on both sides of the puck, giving one of their most complete efforts of the season in the final game of a five-game road trip.
Carter not only got the team on track with a first-period goal, but he also added to his team's lead with a second-period goal that gave the defending champs a 2-0 advantage 3:23 into the middle frame. Both goals came on backhand shots through the five hole of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.
The first of Carter's two goals came while the teams were skating 4 on 4, with the assists going to Slava Voynov and Mike Richards. After receiving a cross-slot pass from Voynov, Carter lightly tipped the puck off his backhand and through the open legs of Elliott as the goaltender slid across the crease to make the save.
Carter's second period goal was assisted on by the teams' newest addition, defenseman Keaton Ellerby. Ellerby's pass led Carter in behind the Blues' last line of defense, leaving him all alone on Elliott. Carter's forehand to backhand move forced the goaltender to slide across the crease, again leaving an open hole for the forward to score his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Both teams were one for five on the power-play, and both teams received their power-play goals in the second period. The Kings struck first, taking a 3-0 lead on defenseman Davis Drewiske's wrist shot from the slot 13:22 into the middle period. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar got the assists, setting the defenseman up with a nice pair of passes. The goal was Drewiske's first of the season, and just the fourth of his NHL career.
Defenseman Alex Steen answered for the Blues, scoring just a few minutes later on a slap shot from the point at 19:17 of the second period, cutting the Kings' lead to 3-1 heading into the final 20 minutes. But Steen's power-play score would be the only goal on the night for his team, as the Kings would shut St. Louis out in the third period.
For good measure, forward Jarret Stoll added a quick goal 3:36 into the final period, ending the scoring at 4-1. Kings left wing Dustin Penner, who had been a healthy scratch in seven of the first ten games, earned his first point of the season with an assist on Stoll's goal.
The two teams have a history with one another after the Kings swept the Blues out of the second round last year on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. This was the first meeting between the teams since last year's playoffs, but the result remained the same. Just as they did in the postseason when they outscored St. Louis 15-6 over four games, the Kings again beat the Blues convincingly. The game was physical throughout, resulting in two fights and 16 total penalties.
Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier got his first start in net this year, after goaltender Jonathan Quick got the nod in each of the first ten games of the season. Bernier played well, making 21 of 22 saves in earning his first win of 2013.
"Bernier hasn't played a lot," Drewiske said, "but he works hard in practice, stays prepared and that's a huge game for him to step in like that and get us a win."
The victory was Bernier's first since beating the Nashville Predators on March 17, 2012.
The loss marked the fifth in a row for the Blues, dropping their record to 6-5-1 on the season. The Blues ranked third in the NHL offensively at 3.36 goals per game heading into Monday's contest, but were held to just one goal. The Kings haven't found the same consistency on defense that they became accustomed to last season, but were solid on this night shutting down a much-improved St. Louis offense.
Los Angeles ends their five-game road trip at 2-3-0, and will return home for one game before heading out for three more away from Staples Center. The Kings will play at home Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:30 PM PST.
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