After Wednesday night's 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings, KTRS Sports Director John Hadley reports that the Blues are having issues behind the scenes.
Obviously, there are issues for the Blues on and off the ice--down 3-2 on the ice. KTRS Sports has confirmed that goalie Jaroslav Halak and Coach Ken Hitchcock got into a very animated and loud argument prior to game 4 out in LA, with Halak shouting profanity at Hitchcock. Furthermore, there are players on the team that noted earlier in the series, when Brian Elliot was hurt and down on the ice, Halak did not even begin to stretch.
Halak now finds himself in trouble with his coach and with his teammates. If being down 3-2 and going to LA isn't enough, the team now has to deal with the fact that there is a legitimate issue in the locker room and that is the attitude of Jaroslav Halak.
KTRS has reached out to the Blues for a comment, but have not received a response.
Defenseman Slava Voynov scored on an odd-man rush 8 minutes into overtime and the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Wednesday night, winning for the third straight time after dropping the first two games.
"Starting the series 0-2 wasn't the best start," said Jeff Carter, who scored in the opening minute of the second and third periods. "It wasn't the start we were looking for, but we worked on things and we talked about things, and I think it's showing in our game now."
Game 6 is in Los Angeles on Friday night and the Kings have won nine in a row at home, where they are 21-4-1 overall counting the regular season. They're also 4-0 at home in the playoffs against the Blues the last two seasons.
"Another one-goal game, but we came out on top," goalie Jonathan Quick said. "We've got another one to win, so we're going to go home and get our rest and get ready.
"We've still got a lot of work to do, so we're going to get ready for this next one."
The Blues failed to capitalize on Alex Pietrangelo's goal with 44.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Rookie Jaden Schwartz got a piece of Voynov's stick on the winner, perhaps altering the shot a bit, and smashed his stick several times against the sideboards and glass before leaving the ice.
"I thought we played a pretty solid game for the most part," Schwartz said. "We battled back hard. It was just an unfortunate bounce in the end."
With goalie Brian Elliott off for an extra attacker, Pietrangelo's wrist shot at the end of regulation forced overtime for the second time in the series. It was the third goal in the final minute of the third period in the series.
The Kings' Justin Williams scored in the final minute of a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1, also in St. Louis. The Blues had a 2-0 series lead after Barret Jackman scored in the final minute of Game 2.
All five games have been decided by one goal, the only first-round series with that distinction.
"The momentum can swing at any moment," said Jackman, who was on the ice for the winner. "You get an odd-man rush and get a bit of a lucky goal, that happens in overtime.
"That's why you shoot the puck."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought Game 5 was his team's best overall effort, and was optimistic that with a repeat showing they can get back home and force Game 7 on Monday night.
"If we play like that again, I like our chances," Hitchcock said. "We got a heck of an effort for everybody across the board."
The Kings ended the Blues' eight-game home win streak in which Elliott allowed one goal each time. Elliott was not made available to reporters.
The Kings were the first road team to win in the series.
Voynov scored the only goal in the Kings' 1-0 Game 3 victory. That had been the defenseman's lone point of the series before he joined the attack with Williams and Anze Kopitar, with all three players handling the puck before Voynov slid the puck beneath Elliott's pads.
Alex Steen's third goal of the series tied it at 1 in the second period for St. Louis. Steen, whose short-handed overtime goal decided Game 1, twice took the puck from defenseman Jake Muzzin on the play.
Pietrangelo got the puck at the point off a clean faceoff win by David Backes and slid into the middle before threading a shot past Quick after two teammates were unsuccessful at deflection attempts.
Carter's power-play goal capitalized on a tripping penalty to Jackman at the end of the second period. Kopitar got Elliott out of position on an odd-man rush before Carter converted a one-timer to put the Kings up 2-1.
The Blues dominated much of the scoreless opening period, responding from their fadeout while blowing a pair of leads in a 4-3 loss in Game 4. The reunited CPR fourth line of Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves had a handful of nice scoring chances in addition to setting the tone physically.
It took the Kings just 14 seconds to take the lead in the second period, though, when Carter tapped a rebound past Elliott. Carter, among the NHL leaders with 26 goals, had no points in the first three games.
The Blues' No. 1 line was victimized again, with Patrik Berglund and David Perron on the ice for the fifth straight goal by the Kings.
Steen tied it a little over five minutes later. Steen knocked Muzzin's clearing effort out of the air with his stick and won a battle for the puck behind the net before wheeling around and scoring on a high shot.
NOTES: Cracknell was a healthy scratch in Game 4 in favor of rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who made his playoff debut and was no factor. ... Kings coach Darryl Sutter made one lineup change, too, scratching D Keaton Ellerby in favor of 21-year-old rookie F Tyler Toffoli, who made his playoff debut. D Matt Greene, still getting into condition after missing virtually the entire season, has yet to appear in the series. ... Mike Richards assisted on Carter's second goal and has three assists the last two games.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The defending Stanley Cup champions looked the part while evening their series against the St. Louis Blues.
The Los Angeles Kings dominated the second half of Game 4, powering past a pair of deficits behind fore-checking that put the Blues on their heels, and have all the momentum in a series that's tied at 2.
The Kings' plan is simple for Game 5 tonight in St. Louis: Keep the pedal down and play physical but smart.
So far, the home team has won all four games, and it's the only playoff series with every game decided by a single goal.
CHICAGO (AP) - Travis Wood pitched impressively into the seventh inning to outduel Lance Lynn, Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and the Chicago Cubs snapped the St. Louis Cardinals' six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory last night.
The Cardinals' streak was their longest since an eight-game run July 11-21, 2010.
Wood (2-3) allowed one run and five hits while striking out eight in 6 2-3 innings for his first win since April 27 at Miami.
Carlos Marmol relieved Wood with two outs in the seventh and pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings. In the eighth he allowed a single to Yadier Molina and walked Jon Jay before getting out of the inning by picking Molina off between second and third.
Lynn (5-1) was trying to become the National League's first pitcher to win six games.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anze Kopitar tied it with 12:46 to play, Justin Williams tipped home the go-ahead goal 76 seconds later, and the Los Angeles Kings evened their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 4-3 victory Monday night.
Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions. They erased an early two-goal deficit and a third-period deficit to earn their ninth consecutive home victory since March 23. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves.
T.J. Oshie scored his first two playoff goals for the Blues, who had the champs on the brink of serious trouble before Kopitar and Williams beat Brian Elliott, who stopped 25 shots.
Game 5 is Wednesday in St. Louis, with Game 6 back at Staples Center on Friday.
He pitched eight innings and Allen Craig drove in four runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-1 win over Milwaukee and the franchise's first four-game sweep of the Brewers.
"Early in the season, late in the season, it doesn't matter when you get a series win like this one," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. "Everything went good this weekend. We pitched good and really hit the ball well."
Matt Holliday also homered for the Cardinals, who have won six straight, their most since taking eight in a row from July 11-21, 2010. It was the first time the Cardinals have four in a row from the Brewers, who moved to the NL and have been in the Cardinals' division since the 1998 season.
Garcia (4-1), who won his third straight game, gave up one run on eight hits. He had three strikeouts and only one walk.
"I felt really good out there," he said. "I was able to keep the ball down and keep our team in the game."
Marco Estrada (2-2) lasted 3 1-3 innings for the Brewers, who have lost five in a row. He gave up eight runs on six hits and had a career high six walks.
The Cardinals scored six runs in the second inning to take control of the game on three hits as St. Louis sent 10 men to the plate. Estrada was wild and loaded the bases with two walks and single.
Shane Robinson and Holliday forced in runs with walks before Craig lined a double to the left field corner to drive in three runs. Yadier Molina's RBI single scored Craig.
Garcia lobbied Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to be allowed to pitch the ninth, but Carlos Martinez finished off the eight-hitter for Milwaukee.
"He pitched a great game," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ""Everything really came together for us this weekend. We had great pitching, good hitting and strong defense."
Marco Estrada (2-2) lasted 3 1-3 innings for the Brewers, who have lost five in a row. He gave up eight runs on six hits and had a career high six walks in what he said may have been the worst outing of his big league career.
"I had no idea where the ball was going," he said. "I made a lot of pitches in the second inning. I couldn't find it after that. It was one of those outings where I had no clue what I was doing out there."
NOTES: Gomez's fifth inning double extended his hitting streak to 12 games, which tied a career high.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gave both OF Carlos Beltran and 2B Matt Carpenter the day off..Both teams wore uniforms from the 1913 season for Sunday's game.RHP Wily Peralta (2-2) will start for the Brewers Tuesday against Texas Rangers' RHP Justin Grimm. RHP Lance Lynn (5-0) will starts for the Cardinals Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs's RHP Travis Wood (2-2).
Even when the crease-crashing Blues knocked his mask off his head, the Kings' gritty goalie kept his focus on a win that got Los Angeles back into a tense first-round series dominated by defense.
Quick made 30 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout, leading the Kings to a 1-0 victory Saturday night and trimming the Blues' series lead to 2-1.
Slava Voynov scored in the second period for the defending NHL champions, who got a brilliant performance from their Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie.
After making self-described mistakes that led to both of the Blues' winning goals in St. Louis, Quick won his duel with Brian Elliott, who stopped 20 shots.
"It's what you expect when these two teams play each other," Quick said. "They were just throwing pucks from everywhere, but we handled it well and cleaned up most of the rebounds."
Los Angeles will attempt to even the series in Game 4 on Monday night.
After struggling on the power play and getting bad luck on a handful of chances, St. Louis even resorted to more unconventional means to mess with Quick.
David Perron appeared to dive into Quick in the crease in the third period, with Quick's mask coming off his head in an exchange that ended with the Blues getting a power play, thanks to Drew Doughty's overreaction.
None of it could throw Quick off the formidable game that carried the Kings to the Cup last season.
"Quickie had to be really good for us tonight, but the way he played is no surprise to anybody," Kings captain Dustin Brown said.
The Blues' power play hasn't scored in 12 straight opportunities since early in the series opener, and they wasted plenty of good chances against Quick in Game 3. Elliott has allowed just three goals in the series, but Quick kept the Kings unbeaten at home since March 23.
"You're not going to get very many games like this where you get this many quality chances on the road," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were unlucky, more than anything."
Staples Center was packed with black-clad, towel-waving fans who fondly remember the Kings' nearly surreal run through last spring's playoffs.
Eighth-seeded Los Angeles went 16-4 in the postseason, beating the Western Conference's top three seeds and taking a 3-0 lead in every series - an NHL first - on the way to its first Stanley Cup title.
The Kings never faced an elimination game or even a tight spot last spring, but the fourth-seeded Blues immediately put them in a jam in this series with consecutive victories at home.
Quick sought the blame for both losses after allowing the overtime winner in the opener and a last-minute goal in Game 2, but his teammates realized they deserved the blame for their meager offensive effort against Elliott, who got outplayed by Quick in last year's playoff series.
"It's the time to stay even-keeled, because these games are all going to be close," Elliott said. "Every play gets amped up, and you've got to take care of details."
The scoreless, tight-checking first period of Game 3 reflected the nervousness in the arena. After Los Angeles killed off a penalty early in the second, Voynov capitalized on a lengthy scramble in front of Elliott's net, putting a shot through traffic into the far corner for the Russian defenseman's first playoff goal since last season's second-round series opener against St. Louis.
The Blues largely dominated puck possession and good scoring chances for long stretches of the final two periods. Alexander Steen, who scored both of the Blues' goals in Game 1, inexplicably couldn't put it into a fairly open net on a power play late in the period, shanking his shot.
During Perron's shenanigans in the third, Doughty followed Perron into the net and slugged the Blues forward several times, drawing a double minor for roughing and putting St. Louis on a fruitless power play. Perron and Quick have jawed throughout the series, and Perron claimed the Blues were "starting to get to" Los Angeles' star goalie after Game 2.
Elliott kept the Blues in it with less than 7 minutes left, stopping Dwight King on a clean breakaway. Justin Williams then saved the Kings with about 5 minutes left, diving to knock away a loose puck on the edge of the crease.
"When it gets late in the game like that, you're trying everything you can to stop the puck," Williams said. "The story for us was Jonathan Quick, though. That's the difference for us."
St. Louis was swept out of the second round in four games last spring by Los Angeles, which outscored the Blues 15-6 while ending their breakthrough season under Jack Adams Trophy-winning coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Blues turned in another strong regular season this winter, even surging past Los Angeles and San Jose into the fourth playoff seed in the final days.
The Kings went 19-4-1 at home this season, posting the best points percentage at home in franchise history. They finished the regular season with seven straight wins at Staples Center.
NOTES: The Kings scratched C Jordan Nolan and dressed D Alec Martinez, who hadn't played since April 2. Martinez, who picked up an assist on Voynov's goal, was a key member of last season's defensive group, but fell out of favor in March after his return from an upper-body injury. Los Angeles dressed seven defensemen. ... St. Louis used the same lineup from its first two victories. ... The Kings have rallied from a 0-2 series deficit just once in franchise history, beating Detroit in 2001.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Jake Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Thursday night.
Westbrook (2-1), came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors - it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.
Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki's double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning.
Westbrook left with a 6-1 lead for the relievers to protect, but the Brewers scored twice in the seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Defenseman Barret Jackman scored his first career playoff goal with 50.4 seconds remaining, lifting the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the second straight time Thursday night.
Jackman, a stay-at-home type who totaled three goals and 12 points in the regular season, joined a rush and scored in transition against Jonathan Quick, last year's playoff MVP. He beat Quick from just inside the blue line for a 2-0 series lead heading to Los Angeles.
The Blues capitalized on a stickhandling goof by Quick to win the opener on Alex Steen's short-handed goal in overtime.
Patrik Berglund's deflection tied it early in the third period for St. Louis, which was swept by the Kings in the second round last season while getting outscored 15-6.
Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who'll try to rebound in Game 3 Saturday night.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lance Lynn won his 10th straight decision, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings Wednesday to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Wednesday.
Lynn (5-0) struck out five and walked two, improving to 10-0 in 10 starts and one relief appearance since losing to Milwaukee on Sept. 7.
It's the second straight quick start for Lynn, who was 6-0 with a 1.48 ERA through May 7 last season, then went 12-7 with a 4.46 ERA the rest of the way