Tender situation: Blues lose 5-1 to Kings, Allen pulled again
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings are tired of scrapping and rallying every night, so they put together a rare blowout victory.
The St. Louis Blues are getting far too familiar with being on the other side of these games, particularly with struggling Jake Allen in net.
Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson scored two goals apiece in the Kings' fourth victory in six games, 5-1 over St. Louis on Thursday night.
Trevor Lewis also scored and Peter Budaj made 21 saves for the Kings, who raced to a 4-0 lead early in the second period with a rare offensive burst from one of the NHL's lowest-scoring teams. Los Angeles won by more than one goal for the first time since Dec. 22.
Muzzin scored his fifth goal of the season 3:18 after the opening faceoff. The steady defenseman added another for just the second multi-goal game of his career and his first since March 5, 2013, also against St. Louis.
"It starts with a good start," Muzzin said. "Our starts lately haven't been the greatest, so we focused on that a little more. We were able to do it tonight. ... We've given up a few goals lately in the first period, and we wanted to play with a lead for a change."
Los Angeles chased Allen with Muzzin's second goal, sending the St. Louis goalie to the bench early in his second straight game.
Carter Hutton replaced Allen and gave up two quick goals to Pearson, deepening the Blues' goaltending quandary. St. Louis has given up 30 goals in its last eight games, with Allen struggling for good form.
"This is really on the athlete," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There's times in your young career where you just say you've had enough, and you've got to go turn it around the other way. He's in a position where he's the guy that has to really take charge here. He's got to man up and get better, and we've got to get better in front of him. ... We're playing losing hockey right now. When you're chasing from behind early, you're in trouble, and we've been doing that."
Paul Stastny scored on a skate deflection for the Blues, who have lost four of six after opening their three-game California road trip with another defensive disappointment.
"We've been beating a dead horse on, `We need better goaltending,'" Hitchcock said. "But it seems like right now, we're at a stage where every mistake goes in our net, and we've got to be careful."
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Marian Gaborik had two assists for the Kings in his first multi-point game since Feb. 9. All-Star Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown also had two assists apiece, and the Kings got a strong game from Budaj after he was pulled from their 6-4 loss to Dallas on Monday.
"This is a game where he needed to bounce back, and we were able to help him have some success," Pearson said of Budaj.
Pearson's 12th and 13th goals of the season moved him within two goals of his career high, set last year in nearly twice as many games. Pearson tapped in his second goal after bulling to the net for Carter's pinpoint pass.
St. Louis only put two shots on net during the Kings' dominant second period, and one wasn't a shot at all: Alexander Steen's pass toward the net deflected off Stastny's skate and slipped past Budaj.
"Since Christmas, we've been on and off, on and off," Stastny said. "That's not the recipe for success."
NOTES: Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos watched the game from rinkside 12 hours after announcing his franchise's move north from San Diego. The Chargers will play next season at StubHub Center, which is owned by AEG, the same sports conglomerate that owns the Kings. ... Blues D Brad Hunt was a healthy scratch after playing the previous three games. ... Los Angeles D Kevin Gravel returned to the lineup after a two-game absence. Matt Greene was scratched for the fifth time in seven games.
Blues: At Sharks on Saturday night.
Kings: Host Jets on Saturday night.