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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.

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Friday, Jan. 2

Sullivan at Washington    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

Community Christian at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

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

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    7:45 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

&Borgia vs. Lutheran N    TBA

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

%St. Charles vs. Bayless    6 p.m.

%Westminster vs. Washington    7:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

%Borgia vs. St. Clair    6 p.m.

#South Callaway vs. North Callaway    6 p.m.

#Hermann vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

%Francis Howell Central vs. Union    7:30 p.m.

#Montgomery Co vs. New Bloomfield    7:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

#South Callaway-North Callaway loser vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield loser    6 p.m.

#South Callaway-North Callaway winner vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield winner    6 p.m.

Bethel at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville loser vs. Harrisburg-New Haven loser    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville winner vs. Harrisburg-New Haven winner    7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

%St. Charles-Bayless loser vs. Westminster-Washington loser    4 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair loser vs. Francis Howell Central-Union loser    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

%St. Charles-Bayless winner vs. Westminster-Washington winner    7 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    7 pm.

#Seventh-place game    7:30 p.m.

Consolation game    7:30 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair winner vs. Francis Howell Central-Union winner    8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

%Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3:30 p.m.

%Consolation game    4 p.m.

%Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

#Championship game    6:30 p.m.

%Championship game    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    7:30 p.m.

%Washington Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Girls Basketball

Friday, Dec. 26

Seckman Tournament

Northwest 43, Mehlville 42

Festus 58, Patriettes 13

Seckman 36, Oakville 28

Pacific 73, Carnahan 38

Saturday, Dec. 27

Seckman Tournament

Mehlville 39, Patriettes 35

Oakville 73, Carnahan 38

Festus 47, Northwest 30

Pacific 51, Seckman 33

Monday, Dec. 29

Seckman Tournament

Seventh-place game—Carnahan vs. Patriettes    1:30 p.m.

Third-place game—Seckman vs. Northwest    1:30 p.m.

Consolation game—Oakville vs. Mehlville    3 p.m.

Championship game—Pacific vs. Festus   3 p.m.

Rolla Tournament

St. Clair vs. Waynesville    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Rolla Tournament

St. James-Sedalia loser vs. Waynesville-St.Clair loser    2 p.m.

St. James-Sedalia winner vs. Waynesville-St. Clair winner    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31

Rolla Tournament

Consolation game    9 a.m.

Seventh-place game    9 a.m. at MS&T

Third-place game    12 p.m.

Championship game    3 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 2

Hermann at Washington    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Bourbon    6 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 5

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

*Holt at Washington    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    5:30 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at St. Clair    7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    5 p.m.

Park Hills Central at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

Cuba at New Haven    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

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

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    6:15 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Borgia vs. MICDS (St. Joseph’s Academy Shootout)    12:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

Lutheran South at St Clair    5:30 p.m.

Lindbergh at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

@Washington vs. Patriettes    5:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield vs. Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    6 p.m.

@Helias vs. Sullivan    7 p.m.

#North Callaway vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann vs. South Callaway    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Pacific at Ursuline    4:30 p.m.

Ft. Zumwalt East at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West vs. Union    5:30 p.m.

@Borgia vs. Eureka    7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

#Harrisburg-Russellville loser vs. North Callaway-New Haven loser    6 p.m.

#Harrisburg-Russellville winner vs. North Callaway-New Haven winner    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co loser vs. Hermann-South Callaway loser    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co winner vs. Hermann-South Callaway winner    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Bethel at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Northwest at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

@Washington-Patriettes loser vs. Helias-Sullivan loser    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union loser vs. Borgia-Eureka loser    7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

@Washington-Patriettes winner vs. Helias-Sullivan winner    5:30 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

#Seventh-place game    6 p.m.

#Consolation game    6 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union winner vs. Borgia-Eureka winner    7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

@Seventh-place game    1 p.m.

#Third-place game    2 p.m.

@Consolation game    2:30 p.m.

@Third-place game    4 p.m.

#Championship    5 p.m.

@Championship    5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Union at Warrenton    6 p.m.

Montgomery Co at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    5 p.m.

Parkway West at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    6 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

@Union Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Wrestling

Friday, Dec. 26

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 27

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Monday, Dec. 29

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Wednesday, Jan. 7

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

Thursday, Jan. 8

Washington at Granite City    4:30 p.m.

Borgia at Hancock Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Union at Liberty Quad    5 p.m.

Washington at Warrenton    6 p.m.

*Sullivan at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

*Washington at Holt/Ft. Zumwalt East    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Westminster at Pacific    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

Union at Branson    5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

Borgia at Owensville Tny    9 a.m.

Washington, Pacific at 141 Rumble    TBA

Union at Branson Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 20

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

Union at Sullivan/St. James/Warrenton    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at Kennedy    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Borgia/Washington at MICDS    4:15 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 12

Borgia at DuBourg    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Washington at Clayton    4:15 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

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

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt East/Timberland    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

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