LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues moves the puck in front of Dwight King #74 of the Los Angeles Kings in the second period in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Tale of the Tape: Blues vs Kings

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On Sunday, the Los Angeles Kings will host the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal (12:30 pm ET, NBC). The Kings lead the series 3-0; here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Leading scorers

Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (4G-5A-9PTS) | Andy McDonald (5G-5A-10PTS)

Starting goalies

Los Angeles: Jonathan Quick (7-1, 1.62 GAA) | Brian Elliott (3-3, 2.43 GAA)

Head-to-head

Los Angeles won season series 3-1

Oct. 18: At Los Angeles 5, St. Louis 0
Nov. 22: Los Angeles 3, at St. Louis 2
Feb. 3: At St. Louis 1, Los Angeles 0
Mar. 22: At Los Angeles 1, St. Louis 0, SO

Game 1: Los Angeles 3, St. Louis 1

How bad have the St. Louis Blues been in this series? Well, David Backes scored the first goal of the series at 9:16 of the first period and Slava Voynov tied the game 7:52 minutes later. That is the only length of time that the Blues have ever had the lead in this entire series.

Matt Greene scored the game-winning goal while the Kings were shorthanded. Dustin Penner sealed the deal with an empty netter at 19:45 of the third period.

Brian Elliott has taken some heat for his play in this series, but he held his own in Game 1. However, things only went downhill from here for the Blues…

Game 2: Los Angeles 5, St. Louis 2

This is the first time in the playoffs that Jaroslav Halak’s ankle injury became a big problem for the Blues. Elliott allowed four goals on 16 shots in the first period.

Under normal circumstances, that’s bad enough to warrant a goaltender swap. Even if you want to argue that, given how one-sided the first period was, Elliott doesn’t deserve all of the blame, switching netminders might have sparked the team. However, with Halak gone, the Blues had no alternative with NHL experience.

Goaltender Jake Allen actually did end up getting a bit of time between the pipes, but it was a mere 1:07 minute cameo and he didn’t face a single shot on goal.

St. Louis did significantly better over the final 40 minutes, but they couldn’t get much by Jonathan Quick. With that, the Kings improved to 5-0 on the road in the 2012 playoffs.

Game 3: Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 2
For a team already down 2-0 in the series, the Blues couldn’t get much done in this game. They only managed four shots over the first 20 minutes and it was the Kings’ Justin Williams who scored the first goal of the game.

The Blues were beaten in almost every conceivable way as the Los Angeles Kings established their second straight 3-0 series lead.

The Kings got help from unlikely sources, including Dwight King, who netted his first goal of the postseason. However, a number of their best players, including Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty carried the brunt of the load.

Quick only needed to stop 18 shots to earn his fourth straight victory. He has allowed three or more goals in just one start in the Kings’ postseason run.

Injuries

St. Louis: Jaroslav Halak (ankle), Jason Arnott (lower body)

Los Angeles: Simon Gagne (concussion), Kevin Westgarth (hand), Scott Parse (hip)

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Malkin to miss third straight game with lower-body injury

Evgeni Malkin
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Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.

The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.

McDonagh out with concussion after Saturday’s altercation with Simmonds

Ryan McDonagh
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The New York Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh tonight at home to New Jersey, the club announcing this morning that the defenseman is out with a concussion.

McDonagh left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia following an altercation with the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds that ended with McDonagh taking a punch to the face from Simmonds.

Simmonds received a match penalty and was thrown out of the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline.

Given the standings, the Rangers can ill afford to lose McDonagh for long. They play in Pittsburgh Wednesday, followed by three home games against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

standings

Lucic’s plan is to ‘remain a King’ for remainder of career

Milan Lucic, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis
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Tuesday night, Milan Lucic will play his first game in Boston as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

It should be an emotional return for the big 27-year-old winger. In an interview with the L.A. Times, he recalled his time with his former club fondly, saying how great it was to be a “part of one of the best-ever eras to be a Bruin.”

A pending unrestricted free agent, Lucic also commented on his contract negotiations with the Kings.

“Nothing to get excited about,” he said. “There’s been two or three little talks here and there. My plan is to remain a King and hopefully finish off my career here. Like I said, I go day by day and you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

Lucic has 12 goals and 18 assists in 50 games this season. Though the Kings reportedly want to keep him, the question is whether they can find the cap space to make it happen.

Los Angeles already has Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, and Jonathan Quick locked up long term. Plus, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson will require new deals after next season.

Related: Why Lucic is an interesting pending UFA