Blues snap losing streak with 2-1 shootout win in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES -- The St. Louis Blues must be getting used to extra time. Saturday night, they finally put one in the win column after three frustrating losses in a row.
Alex Pietrangelo tied it in the second period and Troy Brouwer got the deciding goal in the seventh round of the shootout, giving the Blues a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
"It was almost playoff style where you know one mistake could be a difference in the game," captain David Backes said. "I think we spent too much time in the penalty box, but we were able to make it to overtime and then win it in the shootout."
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Brian Elliott made 26 saves, helping St. Louis end a five-game losing streak that included back-to-back overtime defeats to Ottawa and Colorado and a 4-3 shootout loss at Anaheim on Friday.
"You get it into overtime, or extra time, and you are going to win some and lose some," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We now have played really well for four or five games in a row. We just have to keep it going."
The Blues also ended a string of 11 straight losses at Staples Center, including five in the postseason. This was their first win over the Kings in Los Angeles since March 17, 2011.
And they did it without center Paul Stastny and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester -- they both got upper body injuries in the first period of the game against the Ducks.
Elliott has posted only two victories since winning his first four starts of the season from Oct. 8-18. He got a huge break 12 minutes into the game, when Tyler Toffoli beat him to the glove side with a snap shot from close range and hit the right post during a power play while Robert Bortuzzo was off for tripping Tanner Pearson.
"We just have to bear down on our opportunities," Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "We had good looks and good shots, some point-blank shots and some second and third ones. And if we capitalized on those, there would have been a different outcome to the game."
Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings, who lead Arizona by nine points atop the Pacific Division.
"There's no secret that every time we play those guys, it's very tight and the middle is clogged up," Kopitar said. "We had some chances on the power play, but we just couldn't find the back of the net."
Los Angeles was outshooting the Blues 22-8 when defenseman Brayden McNabb received a 5-minute charging major and a game misconduct for his hit on Magnus Paajarvi along the right boards in the neutral zone with 12:01 left in the third period and the score still deadlocked.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was furious after the call, but his team weathered the storm -- and even had a short-handed breakaway by Jeff Carter that was stopped by Elliott.
"The guy is falling down and Brayden made contact, so (Paajarvi's) head is right down around (McNabb's knees), so what's your interpretation of it?" Sutter said. "Probably the same as mine. If they can't make better calls than that ..."
The Kings opened the scoring at 9:54 of the second. Milan Lucic dug the puck out from behind the net after fighting off a check from Colton Parayko, then set up Kopitar for a short backhander over Elliott's glove after deking him to the ice.
The Blues managed only four shots on net through the first 32:18 after getting outshot 19-2 in the third period at Anaheim. None of their defensemen had one until Pietrangelo beat Jonathan Quick to the stick side with a short wrist shot from the left circle at 12:37 of the second for his third goal of the season.
Quick went behind his net to clear the puck about 7 1-2 minutes into the opening period, and Alexander Steen knocked him down while trying to get around him. Steen received a penalty for goalie interference, but the Kings came up empty on that power play -- as well as the other three they had.
NOTES: Jordan Binnington, who has yet to play in an NHL game, served as Elliott's backup after getting promoted from Chicago of the AHL. Jake Allen, who beat the Kings 3-0 with 33 saves on Nov. 3 at St. Louis, left Friday night's game in Anaheim with a lower body injury after Corey Perry collided with him in the crease. ... The Blues' next victory will make Hitchcock the sixth coach in NHL history to win at least 200 regular-season games with two different clubs. That list includes Scotty Bowman, Dick Irvin, Jacques Lemaire, Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett. Hitchcock had 277 wins with Dallas.