It looked like the St. Louis Blues would need only one goal to beat the L.A. Kings on Tuesday. It turned out they needed two.
The Blues took a 1-0 series lead over the L.A. Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarter-final with a 2-1 overtime victory.
Alexander Steen, who scored the first goal of the hockey game in the first period, also scored in overtime – short-handed, no less – on a puck-handling mistake from Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
The Kings were badly outplayed through most of the first three periods, but Justin Williams tied the score with only 31 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
Here are some talking points:
- The Kings were slow to answer to the Blues’ physical play. St. Louis was already billed as a bruising opponent, but it was Ryan Reaves and Adam Cracknell who led the way in that aspect, combining for 14 hits on the night. The total of registered hits by the end of the night actually favored the Kings by a count of 41-38.
- The Kings had no room to create much of anything offensively. In the third period, the shots were, at one point, 11-1 for St. Louis. But, all it takes in a one-goal is one shot to change everything. Justin Williams can attest.
- Jonathan Quick, last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP, showed last year’s form. He made 40 saves and was spectacular right up until the OT winner. He made a mistake playing the puck behind the Kings net that immediately led to the Steen winner.
- The Blues got some pretty decent goaltending, even if Brian Elliott didn’t face nearly the same onslaught that Quick did. Elliott made 28 saves. He has allowed just one goal in each of his last three regular season starts, and this first playoff start.
- Talk about tough: Kings’ defenseman Robyn Regehr took a David Backes skate to the nose early in the third period. He was dripping blood and had to go to the dressing for repairs. He returned just a few minutes later.