Since we last tangled with the St. Louis Blues...
IN: Matt D'Agostini; depending on Pietrangelo's status, defenseman Ian Cole
OUT: Jaroslav Halak, Chris Porter, Chris Stewart (Blues); Kyle Clifford, Andrei Loktionov (Kings)
Enemy reading: St. Louis Game Time
*Per Andy Strickland, Pietrangelo did not look 100% in the morning practice. If he's still skating in warmups, he should be in.
Quote from the Blues' board snapped today:
"In the playoffs, talent is really secondary to a willingness to grind"
LOOSE PUCKS & ICE BAGS
In Game 1, St. Louis was quick on the puck from the get-go and made life hell for anyone driving toward the net. Hitchcock wants them to keep pushing as hard as possible to create turnovers and disrupt the opposition, physical price be damned.
The Blues are undoubtedly better with a great player like Pietrangelo -- he logs as many heavy minutes as Drew Doughty. On the other hand, they are so deep at forward, and so aggressive on the forecheck, that they will hardly be a pushover even if they are forced to do without.
Perron already took a run at Quick, and some other Blues may have revenge on their mind, but it sounds like Hitchcock is cracking the whip and telling them to maintain focus on the game. Let's hope everyone is healthy.
Earlier, I mentioned the need for the Kings to generate more shots on the power play, as they were near the bottom of the league in generating volume with a man advantage (45.1 shots/60 minutes). Players and coaches reiterated the need to get more shots off quickly, but a team like the Blues makes it extraordinarily difficult. They're going to have to put it together in the face of huge challenges.
The Blues were one of the best home teams for a reason. Another win in their barn would be extraordinary.
Best ratio of shots that got through the D so far: Richardson, Nolan, and Lewis (+3 Fenwick), Doughty (+2), and Mitchell and Stoll (+1). Kopitar broke even.
Puck drops at 6. I can't wait.