Kings-Blues Preview

After a rough finish to November, the Los Angeles Kings have

been tough to beat in December.

The visiting Kings look to continue their success this month and

avoid a fourth straight loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday


Los Angeles (17-10-1) lost seven of eight to conclude November

but improved to 4-0-1 in December with a 5-0 victory at Detroit on

Monday to open a five-game road trip.

Jonathan Quick stopped a career-high 51 shots for his 10th

career shutout.

“It’s great and all to get all of those saves but at the end of

the day, the two points is all that matters,” said Quick, who has a

1.56 goals-against average while winning four of his last five


Quick, however, has posted a 3.91 GAA during the Kings’

three-game skid against St. Louis (14-10-5). He made 22 saves in a

3-1 loss at St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting March 25.

Still, after snapping a three-game road losing streak Monday,

the Kings have a good chance to win consecutive contests away from

home for just the second time this season when facing an

injury-riddled Blues club that has dropped seven of nine


Injuries to defensemen Alex Pietrangelo (upper body) and Roman

Polak (wrist surgery), plus forwards David Perron (concussion),

Andy McDonald (concussion) and T.J. Oshie (broken ankle) continue

to hinder the Blues.

St. Louis also could be without star defenseman Erik Johnson and

forward Vladimir Sobotka after each suffered a lower-body injury

during Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at Detroit.

“It’s kind of what we’ve been going through and something we’ve

got to continue to work through,” Blues forward B.J. Crombeen said

about the rash of injuries. “We’ve got some guys that are ready and

waiting that will step in.”

Jaroslav Halak could be in net again after he made 32 saves

Wednesday. He is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA versus Los Angeles.

Backup Ty Conklin is 5-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA against the


Though Alex Steen has been held without a point during the

Blues’ three-game winning streak against Los Angeles, the St. Louis

forward has three goals and three assists in his last four


Kings star Anze Kopitar has five goals and three assists this

month, and teammate Drew Doughty – a Norris Trophy finalist last

season – snapped a 10-game point drought with three assists at


“It was obviously pretty frustrating before, not getting many

points, so it was about time,” Doughty told the Kings’ official

website. “I knew it was going to happen eventually. I just had to

stick to my game and play as hard as I could.”

Los Angeles is expected to have defensemen Matt Greene and Rob

Scuderi in the lineup after each left Monday’s game with an


Veteran forward Marco Sturm took part in his first practice

since being acquired by the Kings from Boston on Saturday, but he

is still recovering from a knee injury and likely won’t play until

next week at the earliest.