ST. LOUIS – Jonathan Quick was appreciative of the Los Angeles Kings’ special-team units. Because of their success, his workload was fairly light despite 30 shots.
Ryan Smyth scored the Kings’ sixth power-play goal of the season and the penalty killer stopped St. Louis on five opportunities in a 2-1 victory Saturday night. Former Blues player Michal Handzus also scored for the Kings, who won their third in a row after opening the season with a loss to Phoenix.
The Kings, who allowed four power play goals in a game earlier in the week, made it easy for their goalie, who stopped 29 shots on the night – 14 in the third period.
“We put an emphasis on our defensive zone, blocking shots and limiting their amount of scoring chances,” Quick said. “Our PK did great tonight, which was good to see because we’ve been struggling the past couple of games.”
The Kings’ win completed a Los Angeles sweep of St. Louis after the Dodgers knocked out the Cardinals in the National League baseball playoffs earlier in the night.
Alex Steen scored a short-handed goal for the Blues, who dropped their second straight game at home after opening with a pair of wins over Detroit in Sweden.
“We’re not coming out of the gate hard enough,” Steen said. “The way that we played towards the end of last season, no teams are going to get surprised by our team. They know how hard we work and we should go out there and give them what they expect. So far, we’ve been coming back the second and third periods, but it’s not good enough. We haven’t played a hard 60 minutes yet this year and it’s hurting us.”
Smyth banged home his own rebound after Drew Doughty’s slap shot from the point caromed off the back boards to the front of the net, where Smyth scored the Kings’ sixth power-play goal on the season 10:47 into the first period. He beat Chris Mason after Mason, who stopped 24 shots in the game, made the initial save.
“We’re getting more people with that kind of a mindset this year to get the puck to the net more often,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “There was a lot of good foundation work put in last year. A lot of the same people makes it a lot easier to move forward.”
The Kings outshot the Blues 7-3 in the opening period, but Quick had to make a sprawling save on St. Louis forward Andy McDonald.
“I didn’t see too much action,” Quick said. “I saw very little action. The only action was on their power play.”
Handzus made it 2-0 for the Kings when his centring feed to Alexander Frolov during a two-on-one deflected off the stick of David Perron and between Mason’s pads with 4:05 left in the second.
Without naming him, Murray was angry with Perron on the play because the Blues forward was on the ice too long during his shift. Murray called it “poor judgment.”
“To me, their second goal is a ridiculous goal,” Murray said. “We’ve got a forward that plays the point on the power play, he doesn’t change. He was told when he went out to watch the clock. We were screaming from the bench for a change, and he didn’t change.
“The play went 5-on-5 into the zone and he went into the zone with the play and the puck was in the corner of the rink. That goal wasn’t short-handed; it was 5-on-5.”
Mason kept the Kings from grabbing a bigger lead when he stacked the pads and robbed Dustin Brown during a short-handed breakaway, then again closed the pads twice and stopped Frolov twice late in the second period. He stopped Frolov again in the third with a nifty glove save in the slot.
Steen got his first of the season to break the ice for St. Louis, as he beat Quick with a high shot that was initially ruled no goal. But after a video review, the goal was awarded.
The Blues nearly tied it late after pulling Mason, but Quick stopped four shots in the final minute of play.
“We have a lot of bad habits, and when you start off four games in a row like that, you have to take a look inside yourself and figure out what you can do to get yourself ready to play,” Blues forward Keith Tkachuk said. “There are no easy games. You have to be ready to go. When you look back, we’re lucky to be 2-2 right now because of our starts.”
Notes: The Kings’ top line of Anze Kopitar, Smyth and Justin Williams has 20 points in the team’s four games. … Blues F Paul Kariya has scored more goals (31) and points (68) against the Kings than any other team in the league. … Doughty left the game in the second period after taking a puck to the face following a slap shot from the point by the Blues’ Erik Johnson but returned for the third. … Blues F Cam Janssen made his season debut Saturday, replacing C Patrik Berglund, who was a healthy scratch.