NHL Game Summary - Los Angeles at St. Louis
(Thursday, December 21st)
Final Score: St. Louis 5, Los Angeles 2
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Lee Stempniak and Barrett Jackman each had a goal and an assist, and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 5-2, at the Scottrade Center to give new head coach Andy Murray just his second win behind the bench at the expense of his former club.
Murray coached the Kings for five-plus seasons before being fired with just 12 games remaining in the 2005-2006 season.
David Backes scored his first career NHL goal and Martin Rucinsky and Jay McClement also tallied for the Blues, who have won two in a row following an 11-game slide. Manny Legace made 23 saves for St. Louis.
Anze Kopitar and Derek Armstrong scored for the Kings, who have lost three straight. Lubomir Visnovsky assisted on both goals and Dan Cloutier stopped 17-of-21 shots.
St. Louis jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Backes' goal. From the slot, the center used a backhander, with the disc eluding the pad of Cloutier at 10:47 in the first period. Backes made his NHL debut Tuesday in Pittsburgh, where he notched his first assist.
"It's been a long time coming," Backes said. "I had a little struggle in Peoria putting the puck in the net. Finally popped it here and hopefully we'll keep rolling with it."
Stempniak made it 2-0 in the second period, rifling a 43-foot slapshot past a screened Cloutier at the 6:10 mark.
Rucinsky's sixth of the season widened the margin to 3-0 at 11:01. The play started when Dennis Wideman fired a slapshot from the middle of the blueline and Cloutier came out to cut off the angle, making a nice save, but Rucinsky crashed into the netminder, with the puck sliding back into the net stick side.
"We didn't have a great second period," said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. "We were just trying to make too many cute plays and too many perfect plays. We are a team that has to generate a lot of chances. We have to be pretty basic in how we play."
In the first five minutes of the third period, Los Angeles turned the tide, outshooting St. Louis 5-0.
Kopitar started the flurry, putting the Kings on the board by slipping a backhand shot past Legace at 1:40.
A short time later with Los Angeles on the power play, the Blues made a mistake by not clearing the zone. The Kings nabbed the lose disc and moved the puck nicely before Armstrong chipped it in from the slot to make it 3-2 at 3:24.
The Blues reclaimed their two-goal lead on McClement's marker. On a two-on one, Jamal Mayers sent a cross-ice pass to McClement, who fired it home on the one-timer to make it 4-2 at 9:37.
Jackman's empty net goal capped the scoring with just 22 seconds remaining in the contest.
"It doesn't have anything to do with tactics," said Blues head coach Andy Murray. "This hockey game now is all about willpower and determination. Obviously that fourth goal was a key goal. Some good resiliency there and getting a big win."
St. Louis snapped a five-game slide against the Kings...The Blues won back-to- back games in regulation for the first time this season...St. Louis also snapped a seven-game losing streak at home...The Kings went 1-for-1 on the power play, while the Blues were unsuccessful on their only opportunity of the game.
12/22 00:25:02 ET