St Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six

Blues return to Staples Center, site of playoff disappointment


The last time the St. Louis Blues defeated the Los Angeles Kings, it was to take a 2-0 series lead in their first-round playoff match-up.

And then it all fell apart — the Blues dropped four straight to the Kings and were eliminated from the 2013 postseason, just like that.

Three of those four straight defeats — including the final one — occurred at the Staples Center, the L.A. arena where the two Western Conference contenders will meet tonight for the first time in 2013-14.

“I think we were really deflated after (the playoffs) last year,” Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We poured in an effort that we thought was the right one, that was enough to win. And we didn’t come out on the right side of it. I think we were proud of the way we played, more so than the year before. But for that reason it hurt even more because we didn’t get the result.”

So maybe “fell apart” isn’t quite accurate. All six games in that series were decided by a single goal.

But “fell apart” wouldn’t be an unfair way of describing the Blues’ effort in the first period Friday in San Jose, where the Sharks took a 4-0 lead after the opening frame was barely half over. St. Louis came back to make a game of it, but as David Backes almost comically put it, “If you give any good team a four-goal lead, you’re asking for a loss.”

Meanwhile, with just one win in their last five tries, the Kings suffered their own frustrating, humbling defeat in their last outing. On Saturday, they dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Calgary after Flames forward Mike Cammalleri scored with just 23 seconds remaining to break the deadlock.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.