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Blues Ready for Another Shot at Kings

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:00 am

ST. LOUIS (AP) — This time around, the St. Louis Blues are determined not to be a mere speed bump for the Los Angeles Kings.

Coach Ken Hitchcock likes his team’s chances of making a deep playoff run, but scoffed away a suggestion that the Blues and Kings have a lot of similarities. After sweeping the Blues in the second round last spring en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, Los Angeles won all three games this season, too, and have taken eight in a row overall.

“Look, we haven’t beaten them in two years,” Hitchcock said Monday. “I think we’re really hungry for this series. It’s a matchup that quite frankly if we’re going to go far, the confidence if we could win this series would be astronomical.”

The Blues have won 12 of their last 15 with a mix of stingy goaltending, tight checking and just enough offense. They won their last six at home to claim the fourth seed in the Western Conference after finishing one point ahead of the Kings.

Forward T.J Oshie, expected back from ankle surgery for Game 1 Tuesday night, believes the key to the series is “probably not let them push us around and intimidate us.”

“I think last year, not everyone, but we had some guys that just didn’t really want to go into the hard areas,” Oshie said. “They’re going to come hard and we’re going to do the same.”

Hitchcock said the Kings’ pace was a bigger factor last spring and added “physical play is the most over-rated thing in playoffs.”

Yet the Kings didn’t downplay expectations it’ll be a physical series.

“Big bodies on each side, I don’t anticipate anything else,” forward Justin Williams said. “If you’re a slow team, you’re going to get hit.

“If you skate the puck quick, get out of your zone quick, you’re not going to be hit.”

The Kings were the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup last year, bumping off the No. 2-seeded Blues, and begin their bid for a repeat as a well-respected No. 5.

“Los Angeles is the only team that has the knowledge of what it takes to win,” Hitchcock said. “Everybody else can talk about it, but they have it, they know how deep you have to go.”

Captain Dustin Brown, who scored twice in the Kings’ clinching victory over St. Louis last season, said it’s important to remember how grueling the playoffs can be.

“We went through it just last year,” Brown said. “But sometimes you’ve got to really focus on how hard it is, how much work you have to put in to be successful this time of the year. Shift by shift, literally taking it one period at a time.”

Part of that mind-set means not taking their recent dominance in the series for granted. The Blues made significant moves on defense for the stretch and after the final meeting against the Kings, picking up Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold.

Jeff Carter had 26 goals and Anze Kopitar had a team-leading 42 points for the Kings.

“The playoffs are about players stepping up,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Experience has got to help. It’s not necessarily winning, it’s understanding how long the haul is. We didn’t play St. Louis until the second round last year, so St. Louis knows how to win, too.

The goalies figure to be in the spotlight, especially with neither team generating much offense. The Kings totaled two or fewer goals in five of their last seven and the Blues scored two or fewer goals in eight consecutive games this month.

Jonathan Quick was ready for it last year, allowing five goals against the Blues and taking the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP with a 1.41 goals-against average.

Brian Elliott gets the Game 1 start for St. Louis ahead of Jaroslav Halak, recovered from a groin injury, off a spectacular rebound from early-season difficulties that included a benching and conditioning stint in the minors. He won nine games in April with three straight shutouts on the road.

Hitchcock said there was a good reason Elliott struggled in the Kings series last year. He was treated for an inner-ear infection throughout the series, and Hitchcock said “I wasn’t in the medical thing, all I knew was he had no balance.”

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    7 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    7 p.m.

*Pacific at Sullivan    7 p.m.

*Hermann at Owensville    7 p.m.

Ash Grove at St. James    7 p.m.

Cuba at Brentwood    7 p.m.

*St. Charles West at Warrenton    7 p.m.

South Callaway at Wright City     7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News