ST. LOUIS -- Two games. Two road wins. Two victories against the second-seeded team in the Western Conference.
Didn’t this just happen earlier this month?
The Kings simply hit the replay button and sent the Blues reeling with a barrage of offense Monday night at Scottrade Center. They pounded St. Louis with a four-goal, first-period outburst and defeated the Blues, 5-2, in fight-filled Game 2, which was their fifth consecutive road win this postseason.
The victory gives the Kings a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals, a repeat of what unfolded in the first round against the Canucks when they won the first two games at Vancouver. But this wasn’t supposed to happen to the Blues, not in this place, considering they set a franchise record during the regular season with 30 wins at home.
Leading the way for the Kings were captain Dustin Brown and center Anze Kopitar, who combined for five points. Kopitar scored twice, including a dazzling short-handed goal at 14:16 of the first period to make it 2-0. Brown had three assists, including one on the short-handed effort, and he has been involved in all four of the Kings’ short-handed goals in this playoff run.
The other Kings’ goals came from Mike Richards, who had an assist, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams. Dustin Penner had two assists, giving him four points in this series. Scoring for St. Louis were Andy McDonald and Matt D’Agostini.
Seven goals between the Kings and Blues in one game? Many were expecting, perhaps, seven goals to be scored the entire series.
The last time the Kings scored four goals in a period during the playoffs was May 7, 1993, against Vancouver, when they scored five goals in that period.
St. Louis was without star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was injured late in the second period of Game 1. The Blues were cautiously optimistic he would return for Game 2 after he took part in the morning skate but Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said that if Pietrangelo didn’t take part in the warmups shortly before the game, he would not play.
Pietrangelo was injured late in the second period of Game 1 when he went face-first into the end boards after a hit from the Kings’ Dwight King, who received a two-minute minor for boarding and no supplementary discipline.
Not surprisingly, the Blues were looking for King and it didn’t take long for a scrap to unfold involving him. It was a mere 4:41 into the game for King and the Blues’B.J. Crombeen, who had been trading words, to start trading blows.
The Kings already were leading 1-0 by the time that fight took place, having taken the air out of the Blues and the building with Richards scoring only 31 seconds into the game, converting a rebound after Penner’s solid drive to the net.