Blues return to Staples Center, site of playoff disappointment

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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.