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Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues Game #20 Recap: Running Diary

I only have a few rules in my hockey life, but here’s another I looked up [Media Guy Rule Book, Section 31.71.122]: Any time the Kings play them this late into the season and the two teams only have one more point combined than the best team(s) in the league, a running diary must be kept. So, here’s what happened:

Morning Prep

Earlier this morning I had the NHL channel on SiriusXM and was greeted to this nugget from Scott Laughlin, host of NHL Game Day:

“You almost shudder to think what it will be like in St. Louis tomorrow if they should lose to the Kings.”

Yes, sadness ruled my day.

Pre-game

To remind you of the records:

  • St. Louis 7-8-3 / 17 points / 30th best team in the NHL
  • Kings 6-12-1 / 13 points / 31st best team in the NHL

As usual, we’re coming to you live from the Media Guy Man Cave. This time with a concerned Patrick O’Neal and a moral victory-touting Daryl Evens on the FSW telecast. (Alex Faust and Jim Fox will join us later).

The menu includes an all St. Louis menu: toasted ravioli, St. Paul sandwiches, slingers, gooey butter cake, and some genuine Luxco bourbon. Looks like another five-mile post-game treadmill night.

Patrick O’Neal tells us everyone in the Kings organization is baffled at what’s going on with 13 losses in 19 games. Cal Petersen is in Notre Dame mode making his third consecutive start, while Daryl points out that he’s calm in net, ala Jonathan Quick. The Cal Show continues straight from the locker room…

Dustin Brown:

”He’s really calm. That goes a long way when have a goal that’s calm and collected. It can kind of spread through the team when you have a goal that doesn’t get rattled or anything and when things go wrong. He’s brought that competitive edge to the team.”

Ilya Kovalchuk (I don’t know about you, but I love it when that Russian accept pops out during an interview):

“He’s made some really big saves like in Chicago and Nashville. We are trying to play better in front of him.”

Drew Doughty:

“He’s an awesome guy. He’s a lot different on game day than not on game day. He’s super dialed in on game day, super focused. You kind of leave him alone and let him do his thing. He’s played absolutely amazing.”

Insider Jon Rosen interviews Anze Kopitar, who has 45 points (13 goals, 32 assists) in 42 lifetime games against St. Louis. Actually, nothing really resonated during their quick talk. I blame that on Anze’s monotone answers. I think he’s saving his intensity for the ice.

Almost time for the puck drop and Alex and Jim arrive straight on queue, ready to navigate us through this clash of titans.

First Period

1:20 – Jeff Carter drives to the net with urgency with a couple of chances.

2:17 – Matt Luff with the high stick. Nice move rookie. Blues and their 9th ranked power play gear up.

2:30 – Petersen comes up huge on Tyler Bozak. Alex screeched we should rewind and hold on to it. I did. Yeah, pretty sweet.

3:22 – Jim tells us that the Blues check all of the boxes for a team that should be pretty decent so that usually means goaltending is the issue. At least the Kings check the goaltending box as pretty, pretty good. Yes, we are looking for any type of positive this season.

7:30 – Petersen with another great save, point blank on Vince Dunn. Alex and Jim gush, repeatedly. Yes, we are looking for any type of positive this game.

13:20 – More misdirect on the Kings bad record with talk of the Blues’ poor fortunes. We’re told that this is make or break time for Jake Allen. No, not just this season, but for his entire career. Talk about serious soul searching needed. From the sound of it, Allen will be in the KHL by Christmas.

19:28 – Drew with the heavy check, followed by a Luff cancellation. At least they’re hitting.

End of Period.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was as much of a Wonder bread period of hockey as you’ll ever find. Good news is that the Kings aren’t trailing. Vladimir Tarasenko lost a tooth against Chicago on November 14. How do I know? They keep showing it. Note to FSW: More 2014 Stanley Cup clips. Less dental clips.

Shots –Blues 11. Kings 7. Screams from Alex about Call Petersen 5.

This Toyota NOWvember “Opera” commercial is going to be the death of me. I swear they’ve played it eight times already. Ugh.

In other news, Tanner Pearson is skating with Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin these days and has a goal and an assist tonight. Good for the daddy-to-be. Calling Carl Hagelin! Time to respond.

Second Period

1:02 – Bozak again point blank with a fantastic Petersen save. Alex screams us the news again.

2:05 – Dustin Brown dismisses a would-be Blues hit with one of his own. He missed the first month and is already nearing the team lead in hits. Remember when the Kings hit everything that moved, scored timely goals, and smiled on the ice a lot? Yeah, me too. Good times…

4:02 – The Blues are donating their 50/50 raffle proceeds to relief efforts for the California wildfires. The Blackhawks did the same. Classy moves, thank you!

7:26 – TV Timeout. Pains me to say that I’m trying to remember the last goals from Ilya Kovalchuk and Jeff Carter. My memory isn’t that good and I had to look it up (Carts vs. Columbus, Nov. 3 and Ilya vs. Anaheim Nov. 6). They’re due, right?

Close up on Brayden Schenn and there’s discussion that trading him and Wayne Simmons for Mike Richards was a bad trade. Jim says “Two Cups!” Nicely played, Jim.

8:18 – Matt Luff—off some nifty passing from Adrian Kempe and Hagelin—snipes his first career NHL goal. Kings 1. Blues 0. Pearson 2. Hagelin 1. Side note that Luff was sent back to Ontario earlier this year by Coach Willie D. because he wasn’t working hard enough. Good to know.

16:57 – Note to Alex: The new silver jerseys aren’t “new.” Read on…

19:58 – The Kopitar line was buzzing at the end there. Once of these days, the bounces will go the Kings way.

End of Period.

Let’s just say, if this were a a West Coast game and I was on East Coast, I might have a tough time staying awake. But at 1-0, who am I to throw shade? The hot seat heat for Blues’ Mike Yeo rose about 25 degree that period. Not a great effort from St. Louis in that frame.

Shots –Kings 19. Blues 17. Screams from Alex about Cal Petersen 6.

Third Period

0:57 – The Blues block three Kings shots on the same shift. Why does that of all things bother me this much?

4:25 – The entire game I noticed a giant chunk of seats in the first four rows near the visitor’s bench. Maybe 25 of them, including six on the glass. It really bothers me those premium seats are empty. I would have gladly sat there and lend support as the Commissioner of Timeouts for Willie D. as I suggested. As you can tell I have some time on my hands to do some deep thinking during this barnburner.

6:40 – The fans are starting to get restless. You can hear the boo birds stirring a bit.

8:00 – Kings are currently channeling their inner 1995 New Jersey Devils as the Blues cannot get through center ice. It’s only fitting as Petersen is currently channeling his inner Marty Brodeur.

9:23 – Jake Muzzin to the box for interference. Only the second penalty of the game. Should I worry? Probably not since Mike Yeo is coaching the boys in blue.

10:09 – Since 2014, Tarasenko trails only Alex Ovechkin in goals scored. Good to know.

11:11 – Blues still with 20 seconds on the power play, but Derek Forbort has it safely and can clear.

11:13 – Forbort hesitates and does NOT clear! If I were at Staples my voice would be hoarse yelling at him. If we wanted to send him down to Ontario would he have to clear waivers? Maybe he should sit a game or ten. Man oh man, what happened to that monster that played so well last year after almost losing his ear Van Gogh style?

14:15 – Hagelin prevents a sure grade A scoring opportunity by bodying up. I am going to say Pearson 2, Hagelin 2, with that one.

16:18 – Petersen with three saves and the Kings can’t clear. Three Alex screams brings his total to eight as Petersen pulls a veteran move with a “Mask Issue Timeout” to slow the Blues siege on the King’s offensive zone.

17:53 – The FSMW feed catches Colton Parayko laughing it up while his team is down late in the game. That won’t play well on social media tonight.

18:41 – Petersen again! Alex is happy! Us too! Time out St. Louis.

19:30 – Kopitar is rewarded for one of his best end-to-end games of the season with the empty net dagger. Kings can exhale now, 2-0.

End of Game.

Cal Petersen with his first NHL shutout! The future is now.

That’s four points in three-games through the Central division for the Kings. The Blues have been shutout three of the last four games.

The St. Louis fans wanted Coach Yeo’s head on a pike around the same time the Kings fans wanted John Stevens in the same spot. They got their wish tonight. After the game, the Blues announced they fired Yeo and named Craig Berube as the interim head coach.

Shots – Blues 29. Kings 27. Screams from Alex about Cal Petersen 10.

FIFTY-FIVE WORD GAME RECAP

The Kings 2-0 victory over St. Louis saw a trio of firsts and lasts. Cal Petersen earned his first NHL shutout, Matt Luff netted his NHL first goal, and Mike Yeo served his last game as the Blues’ head coach. The Kings went 2-1-0 in their three-game road trip.

NEXT: The Kings host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday at Staples Center.

GAME NOTES: Stars of the Game: First – Petersen, Second – Luff, Third – Hagelin… St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader and team mascot Fredbird dropped the ceremonial first puck… Austin Wagner was recalled from Ontario and replaced Mike Amadio in the lineup… St. Louis has lost four of five (1-4-0) after winning four of its previous five… The Blues had zero penalties on the night… Petersen has a career .951 save percentage, stopping 116 of 122 shots in his first four games… Ilya Kovalchuk had a team high four shots on goal… St. Louis has a goal drought of 142:48… Jake Allen made 25 saves… With an assist, Doughty tallied his first point in seven games…

QUOTES:

MATT LUFF: “It wasn’t a perfect shot but luckily it went in. I thought about it a little bit in the previous games. Tonight it was in my head just don’t think about it. I kind of just blocked it out and shot my shot and it went in.”

WILLIE D.: “We’ve been better [emotionally on the road trip]. We had a really disappointing game, the one at home against Toronto. We weren’t as bad as it looked. Like, we were just bad in specialty teams and it got away on us. But the guys are pretty committed to working hard. They have a history of winning, so obviously it means a lot to them to win.”

VLADIMIR TARASENKO: “It’s hard to win if you don’t score goals. I have no words. We’re trying hard, maybe too hard. If we don’t score, it’s zero in every game and it’s really frustrating.”

BLUES CAPTAIN ALEX PIETRANGELO: “You can’t win hockey games without scoring goals. This has to be a harder place to play.”

CAL PETERSEN: “On the personal side, to get the shutout was very cool. And for Luffer to get his first [goal] was very cool too. So it was an all-around great night.”

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