May 9, 2013
Kings keep rolling with overtime win against BluesLos Angeles forward Jeff Carter's words are ringing true
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
ST. LOUIS - It seems impossible that there could be any more drama left in this series.
But after a devastating defeat to the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock promises there is more to come.
“It isn’t over,” said Hitchcock after watching his team go down to the Kings 3-2 in overtime Wednesday. “If we play like that again I like out chances. All we have to do is win a road game to get it back here again.”
That’s a tall order especially after what had just happened.
The Blues forced overtime with a last-minute goal by Alex Pietrangelo, but it turned out to be in vain as Slava Voynov later cashed in on a odd-man rush to sneak a weak shot between the legs of Blues netminder Brian Elliott.
The goal at the eight-minute mark of the overtime period gave the Kings a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NHL Western Conference quarterfinal. They can end it at home Friday.
It was the second game that needed overtime in the series and the third game that had either been won or tied in the last minute of regulation time.
“It’s crazy,” said Kings forward Jeff Carter, who scored both L.A. goals in regulation. “We would have liked to wrap it up in normal time. But they’re a good team. They don’t quit. We got a win and that’s all that really matters.”
Now the Kings get to go home.
“We’re comfortable at home. We’ve been playing some good hockey there,” Carter said.
The Kings are tough to beat on their own turf and the Blues are going to have to win there to stay alive.
Going into Wednesday’s game, the Blues had won eight consecutive games at the Scottrade Center and the Kings had dropped eight in a row on the road.
But the Kings have won nine in succession at the Staples Center and the Blues haven’t won in seven games there.
That said, Hitchcock liked his team’s effort Wednesday so much that he feels good about his chances.
“It was our best effort,” Hitchcock said. “We played a hell of a hockey game. If that’s the effort and the all-in attitude we have, I like our chances. We had a heck of an effort from everyone across the board. We had no passengers.”
And still the Blues lost.
Carter had a warning for everyone before Game 5. He said the Kings were getting better with each game. While the Blues gave the Kings everything they could handle, it’s the Kings who are starting to look more and more like the team that won the Stanley Cup last year.
“I felt we did a lot of good things,” Carter said. “Starting out the series 0-2 wasn’t the best start. We worked on things. We’ve talked about a lot of things and it’s starting to show in our game right now.”
The Blues and Kings engaged in yet another screamer of a hockey game. It was quick-paced and hard when it had to be. Like Game 1, the Blues carried much of the play but couldn’t convert on the numerous chances they had.
“It’s a tough loss no question,” said Blues defenceman Barret Jackman. It’s not going to be easy but nothing has been in this series.”
The Blues were aggressive in the overtime Wednesday and it hurt them.
“We got caught trying to score a goal. We got caught on a play on the wall,” Hitchcock said. “We got beat up the ice ... the guy who scored the goal was below the goal line and he won the race up the ice.
“I think (Elliott) would want that one back.”
Hitchcock’s biggest job between now and Friday is get his team to forget how difficult a loss this was.
On the other side, the Kings will be sky high over how they won Game 5.
“This is not over,” Hitchcock repeated.
It’s going to take some kind of effort, though, to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champions.