NHL Game Summary - St. Louis at Los Angeles
(Thursday, January 18th)
Final Score: St. Louis 3, Los Angeles 1
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Dallas Drake had a two-goal game as the St. Louis Blues skated past the Los Angeles Kings, 3-1, in head coach Andy Murray's return to the Staples Center.
Bill Guerin also tallied for the Blues, who have won five of six and 11 of their last 15 games overall, while improving to 11-4-4 under Murray, who coached Los Angeles from 1999-2006 and is their all-time franchise leader in wins (215) and games coached (480).
"Turning left instead of turning right when you get off the bus here, it was certainly a different kind of feeling, but you're focused on the job at hand," said Murray afterward. "That was the bottom line, trying to make sure our team was ready. I knew how hard the Kings were going to start tonight."
Manny Legace turned aside 34 shots for the victory.
Raitis Ivanans had the lone tally for the Kings, who have dropped six straight, their longest losing streak of the season. Barry Brust started between the pipes but surrendered two soft goals while facing just ten shots in the first period. He was replaced by Yutaka Fukufuji, who stopped 17 chances the rest of the way, rebounding from a less-than-memorable NHL debut on Tuesday night.
Fukufuji, the first Japanese-born player in the NHL, was pulled less than two minutes into the second period of Los Angeles' 6-2 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday after allowing three goals on nine shots.
St. Louis grabbed the 1-0 lead with 7:44 to play in the first, as Drake netted his first score of the evening. The Blues took advantage of a Kings' turnover behind their own net, and Drake was able to take a stab at the bouncing puck as it dribbled through the slot. The right winger sent a backhand shot through traffic back toward the goal mouth, and the disc trickled through the pads of Brust and over the goal line.
Drake then notched his fifth of the season just 2:32 later. The team captain was in the right place at the right time, as David Backes' harmless shot from the point deflected off Drake's skate and between the pads of Brust for the 2-0 edge. The netminder never had a chance on the play, as he went down in the butterfly position, committing to Backes' shot way too early to react to the deflection.
"That's the way it goes sometimes," said Drake. "You bounce one off a guy's shin, and it goes in. You take them when you get them."
The Kings closed to 2-1 just 3:04 into the middle stanza, thanks to some strong forechecking down low. Ivanans made a big hit on Dennis Wideman in the right corner, then used a quick burst of speed to rush the side of the net. Brian Willsie dished the puck from the left corner right through the crease, where Ivanans tipped it up in the air and over the right pad of Legace.
The Blues later regained their two-goal lead, as Martin Rucinsky set up a quick one-timer at 9:30. Rucinsky collected the puck at the back of the net and dished to Guerin, who's snapshot hit the stick of Mattias Norstrom and still had enough speed to deflect past Fukufuji to make it 3-1.
Los Angeles had two power play chances in the third but couldn't capitalize on the man-advantage. They also pulled Fukufuji with 1:46 to play, but managed just one shot down the stretch, as Derek Armstrong's long slap shot was turned aside by Legace.
St. Louis split the season series against the Kings this year, including a 6-5 triumph at the Scottrade Center last Saturday, and has taken nine of the last 14 encounters overall...Drake has four goals in his last five games...The Blues collected their ninth road win of the year, equaling their total from all of last season.
01/19 01:57:06 ET