May 3, 2012
Never mind win, Blues need goal in L.A.
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
LOS ANGELES - Win here?
They haven't even found a way to score here.
In two games in Los Angeles this season, the St. Louis Blues haven't managed a single goal. But if they're going to launch a series-saving comeback, it will have to start at the Staples Center.
And Ken Hitchcock is confident it will.
"I just don't think we want the season to end," said the Blues coach, sounding pretty upbeat for a guy whose club is down 2-0 in the series and playing in a building where they lost 5-0 and 1-0 this year.
"I think we're going to play our best game tonight. We're going to need to because I've seen the way L.A. played in this building against Vancouver -- they were great -- but I think we're going to play really well."
The Blues should get a major boost with the return of defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, knocked out for Game 2 after being shoved into the end boards by Dwight King in the series opener.
"This series changed dramatically with that one play," said Hitchcock. "The game is 1-1, we're probably playing better than they are, and this whole thing changes."
The Blues are hoping it changes again upon his return.
"It's hard to believe that one player makes that big a difference but obviously he did," said Hitchcock. "We're hoping that the whole stability part comes back to our team. He's arguably our best player. I think you'll see us play very well tonight."
The Kings are well aware what kind of impact desperation and Pietrangelo will have on the Blues.
"A huge impact," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "We have Drew Doughty, they have him. It makes a huge difference to their hockey team.
"And they're used to winning. They can lose, there's nothing that says they can't, but they're used to winning, so expect them to come out with that attitude."
Kings centre Anze Kopitar is warning his teammates that 2-0 looks a lot more comfortable than it really is. A loss tonight and everything changes.
"We have to re-focus, nothing's done yet," he said. "They have a good team. I'm sure if we let them off the hook, they can do some damage. We like the position we're in but we all realize they're a good team and they're not going to go away easy.''
The Blues do indeed still think they're going to win this. Not just the game, but the series.
"The character in this locker room is unbelievable, the way that we fight for each other and battle for each other gives me no doubt that we can come back," said winger T.J. Oshie.
And no doubt they will even score a goal or two.
"We have to get more shots and more traffic, it's as plain and simple as that, and eventually one is going to go in," said Oshie. "Eventually one is going to squeak through."