ST. LOUIS — Borrowing from lyrics by the rock group AC/DC, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock came up with a perfect description for his team's recent struggles at home.
"This is the homestand from hell," Hitchcock said after the Blues lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings, their fourth straight loss at home and fifth in a row overall. "We lost our goalie, we didn't play as well, and now we've got to take this onto the road and we've got to be much more accountable to each other."
This is the Blues' first five-game losing streak since Jan. 2-12, 2011 and both Hitchcock and his players are beyond frustrated with the losing skid.
In a span of 12 days, the Blues have fallen from 6-1 to 6-5-1.
"There's no cavalry coming," Hitchcock said. "There's no rescue party coming to take care of us. We've got to do it ourselves."
The latest punishment came from the same Kings team that swept the Blues in the second round of the 2012 playoffs on the way to winning a Stanley Cup.
"It's very symptomatic of what went on in the playoffs," Blues captain David Backes said. "Round 1 we had success, we thought we were hot stuff and Round 2 we ran into a (Kings) team that's willing to play for each other all over the ice. That happened on this whole homestand.
"It's not acceptable to play four games and get one point at home. It's got to be the worst hockey we've played all year -- and going forward if we don't correct it soon, we're going to be in a world of hurt."
The Kings began the night second-last NHL with 22 goals in their first 10 games. They collected four on 23 shots against Blues goalie Brian Elliott, who stepped in for Jaroslav Halak when Halak aggravated his groin injury during warm-ups.
Despite leading the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage last season, Elliott has been unable to extricate himself from a slump that has reached five straight losses.
Since replacing Halak against Detroit Feb. 1, Elliott has allowed 20 goals on 105 shots. It's not all on Elliott, either, as his teammates continue making mistakes around him that wind up in the back of the net.
Backes also suggested in no uncertain terms that the wrong kind of mentality may be creeping into the dressing room.
"We've got too many guys that are out there looking at the stat sheet wondering how many goals and assists and cookies they got, rather than taking a hit to make a play or getting run over so we can get a puck out," Backes said. "We took our foot off the gas and it's no one's fault but our own."
With the teams skating 4-on-4, the Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jeff Carter at 8:31 of the first period.
Blues defenseman Wade Redden was caught up ice trying to make a play in the neutral zone and the Kings' Slava Voynov built up speed on right wing.
Voynov fired the puck in front to Carter, who tucked it under Elliott's pads for his fifth goal in 11 games.
After a shot by Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko hit the goalpost, Carter's second goal of the night made it 2-0 for the Kings as he worked his way behind Blues defenseman Ian Cole and beat Elliott with a backhander.
A power-play goal by Davis Drewiske made it 3-0 and boos were clearly audible in response to the home team's listless play.
The Blues finally found some energy late in the second period and got a power-play goal from Alex Steen with 42.5 seconds remaining.
The sequence began when Blues winger Vladimir Sobotka took exception to a hit from behind by the Kings' Trevor Lewis. Sobotka answered that hit by immediately going after Lewis with some big right hands before the two were separated.
Rob Scuderi's hit from behind on Backes left Backes down on the ice briefly while being checked by trainer Ray Barile. Backes returned to start the third period and finished the game.
After the hit on Backes, the Blues responded with a power-play goal by Steen on a blast from the right point that made it 3-1.
The Kings regained their three-goal lead on a one-timer from the slot by Jarret Stoll 3 minutes, 36 seconds into the third period.
The Kings outscored the Blues 15-6 during a four-game sweep in second round of the playoffs last spring after the Blues won three of four during the regular season.