The Los Angeles Kings still have the St. Louis Blues’ number.
After beating the Blues in four straight in the Western Conference semifinals last spring, the Kings completed their second sweep of a season series against St. Louis with a 4-2 win Thursday night.
Los Angeles, which has beaten the Blues eight straight times including the playoffs, first accomplished the season series sweep in 2005-06.
”Playing last year in the playoffs, there seems to be a rivalry brewing,” said the Kings’ Justin Williams, who sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1:16 left. ”They haven’t gotten the results they have wanted against us so far, so I’m sure it’s frustrating for them. But at the same time, we played a great road game.”
Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal with 2:43 to play and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves.
Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, and Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings. Jarret Stoll assisted on Lewis’ goal, giving him 100 with Los Angeles.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals and Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves for the Blues, who have lost four of their last five.
”It’s not good, because the team loses,” Tarasenko said. ”It doesn’t matter how many goals you score and how many plays you make. It’s all about the win.”
Richards gave the Kings the victory when he capitalized after Halak gave up a rebound on a soft shot. The puck went to the right side of the net, but came back in front and Richards eventually jammed it in for his 10th goal.
”I’m not even sure what happened,” Richards said. ”Somehow, the puck kept coming back to me. I got lucky there and jammed it in.”
The goal was the type the Kings have been scoring of late.
”Before we were trying to make too many pretty plays,” Richards said. ”When you do that, you don’t score as many goals if you just keep it simple and throw it to the net.”
Williams closed the door with his goal. He then got blasted by David Backes, which touched off a scrum. That didn’t surprise Kings forward Anze Kopitar.
”Every time we’ve played them, it’s a physical game,” Kopitar said. ”That’s the third time we beat them, and I don’t know how many times in a row now.
”It is what it is. Of course, they’re a little frustrated. That’s what happens sometimes at the end of the game.”
Tarasenko tied it for the second time when he shoved home a puck that had drifted through Quick at 6:44 of the third period to make it 2-2. The Blues’ rookie had also knotted the score at 1 when he put his own rebound past Quick at 10:55 of the second period.
Lewis made it 2-1 at 12:49 of the second when he corralled a bouncing pass from Stoll to the right of the Blues’ goal and sneaked a backhander past Halak.
NOTES: Blues G Brian Elliott, who is 3-6-1 with a 3.56 goals against average and has not played since March 5, agreed to go to Peoria of the AHL for conditioning. Elliott led the NHL in goals against average last season (1.56) and helped the team win the Jennings Trophy. … Kopitar had an assist, giving him 22 points in his last 19 games. … Tarasenko’s first goal snapped an 0-for-12 streak on the power play for St. Louis.