Blues vs. Kings season rewind
ST. LOUIS — Arguably the two hottest goalies in the NHL will meet when the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings meet in the Western Conference semifinals beginning later this week.
The second-seeded Blues reached the second round by defeating the San Jose Sharks in five games while the eighth-seeded Kings pulled off a shocker by upsetting the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks in five games.
And both teams had similar recipes for success: great goaltending and timely offense. The Kings’ Jonathan Quick and the Blues’ Brian Elliott could both wind up being Vezina Trophy candidates. Only one of them will advance to the conference finals.
One of the best young goaltenders in hockey, Quick was fifth in the NHL with 35 wins in the regular season and his 1.95 goals against average was second only to Elliott, who led the league with a 1.56 GAA.
Elliott also led the NHL with a .940 save percentage, while Quick was fifth with .929. With the way the pair of goalies have played this season, goals figure to be at a premium when the series gets under way later this week.
The teams played four times during the regular season, with the Kings winning three of the four matchups. Here’s a quick look at each of those games:
Oct. 18, 2011, in Los Angeles – Kings 5, Blues 0
The Kings steamrolled the Blues in their home opener in Los Angeles, scoring four goals on Jaroslav Halak before he was pulled early in the third period. The Kings added a fifth goal against Elliott and Quick stopped all 27 shots for the shutout.
Nov. 22, 2011, in St. Louis – Kings 3, Blues 2
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell scored with 5:49 left in the game to break a 2-2 tie and give Los Angeles its second win against the Blues. The Blues took an early lead on a goal from Alex Steen barely a minute into the game but the Kings responded with two goals to take a 2-1 lead. Vladimir Sobotka tied the game for the Blues with 7:32 left in the third but the Kings retook the lead less than two minutes later on Mitchell’s tally. Halak stopped 25 of 28 shots for the Blues, who lost in regulation for just the second time in 10 home games to start the year.
Feb. 3, 2012, in St. Louis – Blues 1, Kings 0
The Blues returned from the All-Star break and shut out the Kings thanks to 22 saves from Halak, who got revenge for his poor game earlier in the year. Veteran Jamie Langenbrunner scored the only goal for the Blues in the second period. Quick took the loss for LA despite stopping 32 of 33 shots.
March 22, 2012, in Los Angeles – Kings 1, Blues 0, SO
In a preview of what’s to come, Elliott and Quick put on an unbelievable show, combining to stop all 72 shots in regulation and overtime. Making his first and only start against the Kings in the regular season, Elliott made 37 saves while Quick, who played all four regular season matchups, made 35 saves. Jeff Carter finally beat Elliott in the fourth round of the shootout to give Los Angeles its third win in four games against the Blues.