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Kings lose game one to Blues in overtime
After tying it up to send the game to overtime with thirty seconds left the LA Kings had all the momentum in their Stanley Cup Playoffs opening round game versus the St. Louis Blues. With Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on the bench with a double minor and the Kings on the power play, Jonathan Quick made a blunder that he wishes he could have back. Blues forward Alex Steen stole the puck from Quick behind the net and put in a short-handed goal to give the Blues a sudden 2-1 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings. It was a tough way to end the game for the Kings star goaltender that had yet another tremendous playoff performance. Quick, like the Kings, will move on to the next game.
For the Blues it was a significant mental victory over a team they'd lost eight consecutive games to. Steen scored both goals for the Blues, his first one on a power play in the first period. The Steen game winner was about the most extreme example of a momentum swing you could find, with the Kings going from three additional minutes with a man advantage to a difficult and unexpected loss in a matter of seconds. Prior to the Steen game winner the Blues had all the momentum and had outshot the Blues 7-0 after a timeout by Coach Darryl Sutter. The Steen goal is a testament to the completely unpredictable nature of NHL Playoff hockey.
The overtime loss ended a playoff overtime streak for the Kings, who were 4-0 in overtime games during past year's Stanley Cup Championship run. The Kings would have loved to start off the series with a victory, wrestling home ice away from the Blues. Now they face a game two that isn't necessarily a must-win, but at the very least an extremely important game. Quick's error diverts attention from his stellar play, making 35 saves in regulation and keeping his team in the game while they tried to solve Blues goalie Brian Elliot.
The Kings are an experienced group and will need to come into game two with some more urgency. Prior to overtime and the man advantage the Blues were the superior team most of the way. The lone Kings goal, scored by Williams from the right face-off circle should have been as easy save for Elliot. Other than the Williams goal Elliot was on his game and displayed the form that saw him post three shutouts in the final two weeks of the regular season. Elliot is clearly playing at a higher level than he was during the Kings second-round sweep of the Blues in last year's playoffs. With the Blues goalie at the top of his game it's clear the Kings have their work cut out for them. The Kings will need to get their offense going and regain the shots on goal edge they had versus St. Louis in the regular season.
Game two is set for Thursday at 6:30 Pacific in St. Louis
By: Chris Michaels