It’s the most wonderful time of the year. NHL playoffs are upon us, and what better way to start them off than a rematch between last year’s second round match-up between the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings?
The Kings put an early end to the Blues playoff hopes with a four game sweep during the second round in their amazing playoff appearance last season which would later result in a Stanley Cup. The Blues haven’t won a game against the Kings in their last nine meetings, dating back to February 3, 2012. But don’t count the Blues out just yet. They once again have home-ice advantage and are coming off of six straight wins at Scottrade Center. Oh and their goaltender Brian Elliott? He went 11-2 for the month of April, allowing one goal or less 10 times.
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First Round Rematch Between the Blues and Kings
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That was the song that welcomed the St. Louis Blues back to the ice to warm-up in front of a packed Scottrade Center for their first game of the 2012-2013 season. While there was a lot of talk of fans not rushing back to the NHL after a 100 plus day lockout, forgiveness runs quick in St. Louis, and fans gathered to welcome the St. Louis Blues back into action.
After being swept by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to finish their 2011-2012 season, the Blues were eager to get back on the ice and prove they are once again contenders for the Cup. And that they did in a 6-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings.
Although the Los Angeles Kings underperformed throughout the 2012 regular season, nobody really viewed them as a No. 8 seed heading into the postseason.
Just ask the Vancouver Canucks.
The St. Louis Blues would tell you the same, too.
After knocking off the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks in five games, the Kings completed the first sweep of the playoffs by dispatching the Blues in four games with relative ease. Once again, it was captain Dustin Brown leading the way for the Silver and Black, netting two goals in the Kings’ 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, effectively eliminating the Blues and sending the Kings to the conference finals for the first time in 19 years.
The St. Louis Blues find themselves one game away from their summer vacation.
Trailing the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 entering game four of a Western Conference semi-final, the Blues needed to win last Thursday night to get back in the series. Unfortunately, they could not pull it off. Although they started with more speed and aggression than in game two, they couldn’t stop the Kings’ offense, which has been on fire as of late. The Kings had goals by Dwight King and Drew Doughty along with a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist, and a fight) by Mike Richards. Jonathan Quick also had a solid game in net for the Kings. However, he received a lot of help from his defense. Quick did a great job of stopping the initial shot, but he left a number of rebounds. The Kings’ defense was strong and did a great job of boxing out the Blues forwards so they couldn’t put in the rebound.
The St. Louis Blues find themselves down 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings in the best of seven Western Conference Semifinals. This Blues team in the first two games against the Kings is a very different one than we saw in the first series against the San Jose Sharks.
Game one took place Saturday, April 28th. The Blues came out strong and fast and took an early lead from a David Backes tip off of Alex Pietrangelo’s drive from the right point. The crowd loved the start, but the Blues could not keep up the tempo and started trailing off. Kings’ forward Slava Noynov got his first of the playoffs late in the first to tie it up.
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Blues Desperate for Comeback in Series Against Kings
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The St. Louis Blues hosted the San Jose Sharks last Saturday in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Leading the series 3-1, the Blues wanted to do everything they could to move in to the second round in front of home fans. Despite the slow start and giving up a goal to Joe Thorton late in the second period, the Blues rallied in the third with Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scoring within 45 seconds of each other to gain the lead. Andy McDonald sealed the deal with an empty net goal in the final minute, and the Blues went on to win 3-1.
The St. Louis Blues look to send the San Jose Sharks swimming tonight with a win in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Up 3-1 in the series, a win secures the Blues a spot in the second round, but winning that fourth game is easier said than done. The last win has a history of being difficult to achieve. Take the Philadelphia Flyers, for example. After leading their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 and have lost the last two games and now work with a 3-2 lead. The Las Angeles Kings were also leading 3-0 but could not seal the deal in game four and have now fallen to 3-1 in their series. The Blues will be feeling the pressure tonight. After winning two games on the road, they are returning to St. Louis to play in front of home fans.
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St. Louis Blues v San Jose Sharks Game Five Preview
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This is especially exciting news for all you Red Wings enthusiasts out there. Detroit has struggled on the road this season despite having an almost impenetrable record at home. The playoffs are now just two games away and the Red Wings will get to finish the regular season where they play best….at Joe Louis Arena. Fans in Detroit are already anticipating an outstanding playoff run this year and are very happy to see many of their team’s solid players return from injury at just the right time.
When Ken Hitchcock took over the head coaching responsibilities for the St. Louis Blues, the club was off to a disappointing 6-7-0 start. After their 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars Monday night, the team is now 27-12-6, tied with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers for the best record in the NHL.
Aside from the new-look Florida Panthers leading the Southeastern Division and the youthful Ottawa Senators competing with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins for supremacy in the Northeast, the Blues have to be considered the most surprising team in the NHL thus far this season. Especially when you consider that in November the club was floundering in 14th place in the Western Conference, the uphill climb they have made in the last two months to the top of the NHL is rather remarkable.
His return probably won’t garner the level of national media attention that Sindey Crosby received with his first game back, but don’t think the city of St. Louis isn’t ecstatic to see David Perron back in the lineup.
After missing 97 games with a concussion dating back to last season, the St. Louis Blues forward is set to make his return tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Perron will play left wing on a line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D’Agostini and has said that although he is nervous, he is prepared for contact.
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Perron Returns to Blues’ Lineup, Reimer to Start for Leafs
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