ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues have a pulse, albeit a faint one.
T.J. Oshie scored his first goal in 10 games, and B.J. Crombeen and Paul Kariya also scored in the St. Louis Blues’ 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.
The Blues trail eighth-place Detroit by eight points in the Western Conference with only eight games remaining, but as long as they’re mathematically alive, they’ll continue to march on.
“We’re going to keep on winning hockey games,” said Blues coach Davis Payne, whose squad has won 10 of its last 15 games. “Until they tell us we’re not eligible (for the playoffs), we’re going to make sure that hey, if there’s fight left in us, we’re going to put it out there, here at home (or) on the road.
“Stranger things have happened and we intend to keep winning until the games run out.”
Chris Mason stopped 30 shots for the Blues, who improved to No. 1 in the NHL in penalty killing after stopping the Kings on six of seven power-play attempts, which included a two-man Kings advantage for 41 seconds.
“We gave up that one unfortunately,” Oshie said. “But all in all, our PK was a success tonight. We didn’t let them get too many opportunities and when we did, Mason was there to slam the door shut.”
Oshie gave the Blues a 2-0 lead on their first shot of the second period, 1:06 in, patiently waiting out Kings goalie Jonathan Quick before lifting a puck high into the net after Keith Tkachuk clogged up the low slot area.
“Quick is a great goaltender,” Oshie said. “Luckily, I got it upstairs and got it past him.”
Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles, coming off a shootout loss at Colorado on Wednesday night. The Kings saw Nashville leapfrog them into fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
“It’s tough to come from behind every game,” said Brown, who picked up his 18th goal of the season. “Our third period was great, but they got a timely goal with six minutes left that kind of takes the wind out of our sails.”
Kariya got his 18th of the season following a scramble in front that needed video review, but the puck was in the net as Kings defenceman Randy Jones swiped it out with his skate. The goal gave the Blues a 3-1 lead with 6 minutes to play.
“I just shot it five-hole and I was kind of tired, just trying to get off the ice,” Kariya said. “It bounced around, ping-ponged around there and got into the net.
“They got it to 2-1 and there were some questionable calls and it seemed like we were in the box the whole third period. It was tough to generate any offence, so it was nice to turn the tides there.”
Crombeen gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 3:57 into the game, beating Quick following a 2-on-1 rush with Cam Janssen. Crombeen beat Quick with a snap shot through the pads.
The Kings wasted a 41-second two-man advantage in the first period and were 0 for 3 on the power play in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Blues 6-4.
“Some of the calls were deserved, some were questionable, but we had a lot of opportunity to work on our (penalty killing), which has been pretty good all year,” Mason said. “It was the one-shot-and-out thing, clearing rebounds, letting me see the puck.”
Brown picked off Barret Jackman’s clearing attempt and beat Mason with a high backhand attempt 4:38 into the third to cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1.
Mason preserved a 2-1 lead when he made a glove save on the Kings’ Anze Kopitar with 13:54 remaining.
“The third period, I thought we got on them pretty good,” Kopitar said. “But their goalie was playing good and our power play wasn’t as sharp tonight. We had more than enough chances.”
NOTES: Kariya’s goal was the 402nd of his career. … Tkachuk (lower body) and D Roman Polak (upper body) returned to the lineup for the Blues. Polak missed the previous two games, while Tkachuk sat out Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Detroit. … Kings D Matt Greene (upper body) missed his second straight game. … Blues RW Brad Boyes played in his 400th consecutive game. … The Blues have now won the series against the Kings in 11 of the last 14 seasons, winning three of four this season.