May 9, 2013
Kings keep rolling with overtime win against Blues
Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter's words are ringing true
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

Blues forward T.J. Oshie checks Kings Jarret Stoll during Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, May 8, 2013. (SARAH CONARD/Reuters)

ST. LOUIS - Jeff Carter sounded a warning after the Los Angeles Kings came back to tie their NHL playoff series with the St. Louis Blues.

He said he felt the Kings were getting better with every game.

It took a little longer than expected thanks to a last-minute tying goal from Blues defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, but after the Kings got a goal from Slava Voynov eight minutes into overtime to defeat the Blues 3-2 Wednesday it seems Carter’s words are ringing true.

Voynov slid a shot between the legs of Blues netminder Brian Elliott.

Not only are the Kings getting better but Carter – who scored two goals – is starting to heat up as well.

It was the Kings’ third win in succession and gave L.A. a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference best-of-seven quarterfinal.


“We were skating better,” Carter said, “getting on pucks, using our forecheck more to our advantage.”

Carter scored his second goal on the power play less than a minute into the third period. He converted a terrific pass from Anze Kopitar.

Now the Blues are going to have to win at the Staples Center to stay alive. It has not been a kind place to them lately.

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 there in seven games.

Not only has home ice been important in this series but the trend has been that whoever controlled the physical aspect of the game usually won.

In an effort to get a little more goal scoring in Game 3, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock broke up the team’s physical CPR line of Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves. He sat Cracknell and inserted Vladimir Tarasenko.

The move did little to stir the Blues offence with the skilled Tarasenko not getting much ice time and the Blues showing less physical presence.

So Wednesday, Cracknell was back in the lineup and the CPR line did their thing.

In fact, Game 5 looked a lot like the previous four. The Kings and Blues pounded away at each other, taking turns controlling play in their respective offensive zones.

Most of the good chances went to the Blues, but like previous games they wasted a lot of them.

The Kings stunned the Blues and their boisterous fans by jumping out to a 1-0 lead 16 seconds into the second period. From a faceoff, the puck went right to Drew Doughty. His hard shot was stopped by Brian Elliott but Carter slammed home the rebound.

The goal sucked the air out of the building and the Blues, at least for a few minutes.

A terrific individual effort by Alexander Steen bumped everyone right back up again.

Barret Jackman knocked down a clearing pass at centre ice and the puck went to Steen. He took the puck right into the Kings’ zone, circling the net. He almost lost it behind the net but Steen won it back, came out in front and ripped a wrister into the net past Jonathan Quick. The goal came with just under seven minutes gone in the second period.

Getting back on track when they’ve taken a hit is something the Blues haven’t done well against the Kings.

“You have to come right back,” said Reaves. “We would play well for 20 minutes and then they would push back and we wouldn’t. Then we’d play well for four of five minutes and not so well for the next four of five. You can’t do that. You have to play consistently for a full 60 minutes or you aren’t going to beat a team like (Los Angeles.)”

The Blues got all they wanted.

But the Kings just had a little more. What’s more troubling for the Blue Notes is the Kings are beginning to look more and more like the team that carried home the Stanley Cup last year.

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