ST. LOUIS — Whether they are being shut out at home as they were Tuesday, or losing on a controversial goal as they did Thursday, the St. Louis Blues don't have time to wonder why.
They need to start winning.
With 15 games left, they dropped further back into the Western Conference playoff contender pack with a 4-2 loss at home to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Blues (17-14-2) have lost three in a row and four of their last five, falling four points behind the Kings (19-12-2) with six of their next seven games are on the road.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock felt the go-ahead goal by Kings forward Mike Richards with 2:43 remaining should not have counted.
Richards was given far much too time in front of the net and kept banging away until he got the puck past goalie Jaroslav Halak with 2:43 remaining. Hitchcock felt Halak's foot was forced off the goalpost when Kings forward Jeff Carter pushed the net.
The play was reviewed, but the Richards goal stood.
"They said it was a good goal," Hitchcock said. "Carter pushed the back of the net, it pushed Jaro's foot off the post and Richards jammed it in the post. I don't know, they'll have to explain it at the NHL level. Carter's motion on the back of the net forced Jaro's foot off the post and it went in."
The Blues pulled goalie Jaroslav Halak for an extra attacker and after missing the open net twice, the Kings got a goal from Justin Williams with 1:16 remaining.
Williams, whose high stick on Blues captain David Backes a little earlier went unpenalized, was crushed to the ice by Backes after the goal. Backes picked up a roughing penalty and both teams had a mini-brawl behind the Blues' net before a sellout crowd of 19,770 at Scottrade Center.
How do the Blues turn things around?
"We're working on it," said forward Alexander Steen, who had four shots Thursday. "Time's running out so we've just got to start winning hockey games. It's plain and simple, really. Whatever it takes to win the games."
Steen felt he could have had two goals.
"We're trying and right now we've had some pucks that haven't gone our way," he said. "Myself, I've got to start putting some pucks in the net. I've had God knows how many shots the last couple games and tonight I have one that goes off the shaft of the goalie's stick and one that goes off the (cross)bar. They've got to start going in."
The Blues held their previous four opponents under 20 shots, but the Kings were outshooting the Blues 27-15 after two periods and outshot them 40-22 in the game.
With the Blues down 2-1, rookie Vladimir Tarasenko's second goal of the night tied it with 13 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in regulation.
A shot from the left point by defenseman Alex Pietrangelo trickled through Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and Tarasenko worked his way in front to beat defenseman Rob Scuderi to the loose puck.
Tarasenko ended a nine-game goal drought earlier in the game.
"It's not good because the team loses," Tarasenko said. "It doesn't matter how many goals you score and how many plays you make, it's all about the win. We don't have selfish players on our team, we're just thinking about wins."
Pietrangelo's assist on the play ended a five-game scoring drought.
Blues winger David Perron showed good chemistry with Tarasenko, setting up the Russian rookie twice for golden scoring opportunities in the second period.
Quick spoiled the first one with a sprawling save early in the period. But on the next one, Tarasenko collected his own rebound and beat Quick for his first goal since Feb. 13, ending a nine-game goal drought.
The goal tied the game 1-1 after the Kings took the lead on Dustin Brown's 13th goal. After a point shot by Scuderi, Anze Kopitar battled in front for the puck and it came to Brown, who guided it past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak
The Kings' Trevor Lewis was tangled up with Blues defenseman Wade Redden later in the second period, but managed to get off a soft backhander that snaked its way between Halak's shoulder and the goalpost.
"It was a heavy game, both teams checked well and played hard," Steen said. "For us right now it's tough to get that break at the end (on Richards' goal), especially so late in the game
"We've got to get back to work. There's no point in feeling sorry for ourselves, there's 15 games left to go. We've just got to win the next one now."