(Sports Network) - The defending champion Los Angeles Kings hope a return home
can get them back into the Western Conference quarterfinals, as they host the
St. Louis Blues in Game 3 at Staples Center.
The Kings won the franchise's first Stanley Cup last spring, but find
themselves down 2-0 in this best-of-seven series after dropping two straight
in St. Louis. Los Angeles went 16-4 during the 2012 postseason and never
trailed a series at any point. That run included a four-game sweep of the
Blues in the conference semifinals.
L.A. dropped a 2-1 overtime decision against the fourth-seeded Blues in Game 1
on Tuesday and lost Thursday's second meeting late in regulation. Barret
Jackman's first career playoff goal came with 50.4 seconds to play as St.
Louis took another 2-1 decision to go ahead 2-0 in the series.
The fifth-seeded Kings, however, hope to get something going on home ice in
Games 3 and 4. L.A. had an outstanding 19-4-1 record at the Staples Center
this season compared to an 8-12-4 mark on the road. The Kings also won seven
straight as the host to close the regular season and last lost at home on
March 23 against Vancouver.
The Blues, meanwhile, played consistently well at home and on the road this
season. St. Louis was 15-8-1 at Scottrade Center and 14-9-1 everywhere else.
However, the Blues lost their two playoff games last season in Los Angeles by
a combined 7-3 score.
St. Louis trailed the Kings by a 1-0 score after 40 minutes on Thursday, but
Patrik Berglund tied the game early in the third period to back a 28-save
effort by Brian Elliott.
Later, with time nearing the end of regulation, Chris Stewart brought the puck
in down the right side and slid a short pass over to Jackman, who snapped a
wrister past the glove of Jonathan Quick for a 2-1 lead -- the hosts' first
and only of the game.
"You get a bounce," said Jackman. "You get a puck that you don't normally get
and you put it home, and it's definitely a good feeling."
LA got Quick out of the net shortly after the ensuing faceoff, but was unable
to get any quality chances before time expired.
Team captain Dustin Brown scored the lone goal of the game for the Kings,
while Quick posted 23 saves in the loss.
"Four games will win this series, so we just focus on the next one, we're
going home," said Brown. "We've played really well at home this year. We've
got to take care of our home ice here."
Kings forward Anze Kopitar is still looking for his first goal since March 25
and the Slovenian star has one assist in the first two games of this series.
Kopitar, who had eight goals and 12 assists for L.A. in last year's playoffs,
went the final 16 games of the regular season without scoring a goal.
Game 4 of this series is scheduled for Monday night.
The Sports Network