Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 21 @ St. Louis
November 22, 2011
5pm PST (8pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings begin a mini two-game road swing tomorrow night as they travel to the Gateway City to take on the St. Louis Blues. Both teams have found some success as of late but both teams want to avenge their most recent losses.
This will be the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season. In their first meeting back on October 18, the Kings celebrated their home-opener with a 5-0 rout over the Blues. As much as the Kings dominated that night, it was against a very different St. Louis team who have since fired head coach Davis Payne to make way for Ken Hitchcock. Also in that game, Los Angeles scored four times on goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Since then, it’s been Brian Elliott who has taken over in the St. Louis goal by going 7-1 with a 1.43 GAA in eight appearances this season.
The Blues are 5-3-2 in their last ten and sit just one point behind the Kings with a 10-7-2 record. St. Louis, however, will have to do without Chris Stewart tomorrow night, who will be serving the last of his three-game suspension for pushing Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall into the boards last week.
Today at practice, head coach Terry Murray said that both Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier will be start on this road trip. Murray, however, did not indicate who will start tomorrow in St. Louis or Wednesday night in Dallas. Also, although it’s not etched in stone just yet, Murray has switched up his team’s third and fourth lines and, as it looks, Trent Hunter will be re-inserted into the lineup to play on the third line alongside Jarret Stoll and Kyle Clifford while Kevin Westgarth will find himself alongside Colin Fraser and Ethan Moreau on the fourth line. With that, Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson will likely be the healthy scratches.
When you look at the numbers of both teams this season, they’re very similar. Goals per game, the Kings have averaged 2.40 while the Blues have averaged 2.53. Goals against, the Kings have 2.30 while the Blues have 2.16. The two teams also have similar numbers in the shots for and against categories as both teams hover around 30 in both.
Should Los Angeles be successful, they need to contain St. Louis’ two leading goal-scorers, Alex Steen and David Backes, who have seven goals each. Steen and TJ Oshie lead the way for St. Louis in points with 13 while Backes and David Shattekirk are close behind with 12 each. Tomorrow night’s game will certainly be a battle and a great pick-me-up should the Kings get the two points.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Courtesy of EuroSport.com