Kings put Blues in 3-2 hole

News-DemocratMay 9, 2013 

— Soaring high on emotion following Alex Pietrangelo's goal with 44.1 seconds remaining in regulation that forced overtime Wednesday, the St. Louis Blues once again were forced to endure the bitter taste of defeat.

Slava Voynov's goal through goaltender Brian Elliott's pads eight minutes into overtime lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Blues in Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference first-round playoff series.

The win was the third straight by the Kings, who once trailed 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. They also trailed Game 4 against the Blues 2-0 and 3-2 and were nearly down 3-1 in the series.

Now the Kings, who became the first road team to win a game in the series, return home to Los Angeles looking to close things out Friday with a win in Game 6.

"You need an all-in mentality and we had that," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We need to come with that same mentality for Game 6. This is not over."

Hitchcock couldn't fault his team's overall effort.

"There's lot of positives," Hitchcock said. "Effort, discipline, structure, whatever you want. There's a lot of positives.

"Overtime's a crapshoot. I know to win the (Stanley) Cup you've got to win most of your overtime games."

The Blues pulled Elliott for an extra skater with a minute and 10 seconds remaining and the move paid off when Pietrangelo scored.

Blues rookie Jaden Schwartz aided in the goal, screening Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on the play not long after Blues captain David Backes won a faceoff.

"There were probably four or five guys in front of the net, so it went through a lot of bodies and went in so that was nice," said Schwartz, who realizes the dire situation his team finds itself in. "That's a part of playoff hockey, you've got to get ready for the next game and regroup, get energized and ready to go. It's two must-win games now."

Voynov scored his second goal of the playoffs off an off-man rush, firing a shot from right wing that eluded Elliott.

"We had no passengers today, we had an all-in mentality," Hitchcock said. "Once we started to dial it up I was really impressed with the way we played."

Jeff Carter scored goals within the first minute of the second and third periods to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. Carter's second goal of the night came 54 seconds into the third period.

Carter took a drop pass from Anze Kopitar during a power play and fired it into a mostly open net.

Carter was the leader of the Kings' quick-strike attack, also scoring just 14 seconds into the second period. Alexander Steen answered Carter's first goal for the Blues later in the period to tie it 1-1.

The Blues were held without a shot in the third period until there was 10:48 remaining. However, they found new life when Pietrangelo scored off the faceoff and the building erupted.

But following Voynov's goal, that elation was sucked right out of the building.

"It's tough to lose in overtime, it always is when you're that close," Pietrangelo said. "We've just got to go in there and get the win and win on home ice on Monday."

Steen, who was unable to get a shot off on his first wraparound try of the shift, pushed the puck free behind the net from Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin and tried it again.

Steen skated out in front patiently, then sent a sizzling wrist shot past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick at the 6:46 mark to tie it.

It was Steen's third playoff goal, giving him three of the first eight scored by the Blues.

On the Kings' first goal, Blues center Patrik Berglund was tossed out of the faceoff circle and replaced by T.J. Oshie. Oshie lost the draw as Carter got the puck back to defenseman Drew Doughty.

Carter knocked in the rebound of Doughty's shot for his second goal of the playoffs to give the Kings the lead.

After Steen's goal, the Blues nearly got another when they peppered Quick with four early shots during a second-period power play.

Energized by the return of the "CPR Line" of Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves, the Blues pumped a Scottrade Center crowd of 18,269 with emotion in the first period.

But just as in other games of their series against the Kings, they left the first period with no offense despite outshooting their rivals 9-2 in the first 12 minutes and applying heavy pressure.

The Blues outshot the Kings 12-8 in the opening period after being outshot 23-10 in the final two periods of Game 4 in Los Angeles.

The brutal nature of the series has stretched the emotions on both sides, but neither team has snapped.

"We're not shopping at the mall," Hitchcock said. "This is a very emotional series. I'm not worried about it and I don't think they're worried about it. I told you before at the start of the series I just wish the referees would sit in the fifth row, the teams will decide it."

The Kings are trying to overcome a 2-0 playoff deficit for the first time since 2001, while the Blues are trying to extend their 10-0 streak when winning the first two games of a playoff series.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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