ST. LOUIS — An unfortunate sequence of events led to the Los Angeles Kings' game-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
The play began when Kings' forward Dustin Brown poked the puck loose from Blues' center David Backes. Brown got it ahead to Justin Williams, who broke in with Anze Kopitar before Kings' defenseman Slava Voynov also jumped up into the play on right wing for a 3-on-2 rush.
Kopitar waited before sending the puck to Voynov, with Blues rookie Jaden Schwartz rushing back and managing to get a stick on the stick of Voynov.
That seemed to change the direction of Voynov's shot and the puck snaked its way through the pads of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott for a 3-2 overtime win -- and a 3-2 series lead for the Kings.
"It's just one of those plays where you're not going to tell your guys not to try to get in front of the puck, but stick-on-stick kind of changed the trajectory a little bit and it went in," Elliott said Thursday.
Schwartz, who was hurrying to get back, was so mad after the play he shattered his stick by slamming it twice against the boards.
"I was hustling back as hard as I could and got a stick on him," Schwartz said. "(Voynov) definitely wasn't going five-hole there, I think if anything he fanned on the shot. I got a stick on him, but it wasn't enough."
That's been the story of a Blues-Kings series where little has separate the two teams. All five games have been decided by one goal, two of them needing overtime before determining a winner.
Now the Blues must win in Game 6 or their season is over.
"It's going to take a big effort," Schwartz said." It's going to have to be our best game of the series. Everyone's going to have to be ready go and be committed to sticking to our game plan.
"We've got nothing to save it for, our season's on the line and the series is on the line. It should be easy to get up for this game."
Elliott, who allowed more than one goal for the first time in nine straight home games, agreed.
"I don't think there's a guy in our room that's not confident we can win," he said.
Despite three assists from center Vladimir Sobotka, the line of Sobotka with Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart hasn't generated any goals in the series.
Stewart, the team's regular-season scoring leader, has one assist (on Barret Jackman's winning goal in Game 2) while McDonald is still looking for his first point of the playoffs.
Stewart is tied for the team-lead with 16 shots, while McDonald has nine.
"It's been tough, real tough," McDonald said when asked about his own performance. "As a line we've been matched up against Stoll (Jarret Stoll's line) for the most part, their third line. Coming into the series we counted on ourselves to score and pretty much we've been negating the other line and they've been negating us, which has been frustrating.
"I think we've had a number of chances, but we've failed to capitalize. It's right there for us, the last game was our line's best game of the series."
McDonald knows that his line is being counted on for more offense.
"I think we expect to score and have success and I know they're a line that really works hard on their side of the puck," he said. "I don't know how much they're thinking about offense, but we certainly have to bring an effort to try to beat them."
Defensively, the Kings have victimized the Blues' line of Patrik Berglund, David Perron and T.J. Oshie. They were on the ice for the Kings' first goal in Game 5 and all four L.A. goals in Game 4.