Kings: Second-round playoff primer

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
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Opponent: St. Luis Blues

Regular-season records: Kings, 40-27-15, 95 points (8th in Western Conference); Blues 49-22-11, 109 points (2nd in Western Conference).

Playoff Schedule: TBA

Previous meetings this season:

Oct. 18 @ Staples CenterKings 5, Blues 0

After opening the regular season with two “home” games in Europe and two more on the East Coast, the Kings played their Staples Center opener and it turned out to be one of their best home performances of the season. Offseason acquisition Simon Gagne scored two goals and returning veterans Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll had one each. Jonathan Quick also notched the first of what would be a franchise-record 10 shutouts during the regular season.

Nov. 22 @ Scottrade Center – Kings 3, Blues 2

With a new coach behind the bench for St. Louis, the Kings earned the same result, getting a late goal from defenseman Willie Mitchell to topple the Blues on their home ice. The victory came during the hottest stretch of the season for Mike Richards, another offseason acquisition who was counted on to get the Kings deep into the postseason. He scored his seventh goal in seven games and assisted on another. He finished with nine goals in November before a concussion on Dec. 1 slowed his production significantly. Kings back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier earned the victory in a rare start.

Feb. 3 @ Scottrade Center – Blues 1, Kings 0

This time it was the Kings that had a new coach behind the bench, Darryl Sutter, who was hired in mid-December to turn around the struggling team. St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak was coming off a nine-day break for the All Star Game and he out-dueled Quick, who had made his first All Star appearance five days earlier and was beginning a six-game, 11-day road trip. The loss marked one of nine times during the regular season that Quick gave up one goal or less and didn’t come away with the victory.

March 22 @ Staples Center – Kings 1, Blues 0 (SO)

Once again, goalkeeping took center stage as Quick stopped 35 shots to tie the franchise record for shutouts in a season, and the Kings won their season-best sixth consecutive game to put themselves in prime position to reach the playoffs for a third straight season. Jeff Carter, acquired in a trade-deadline deal a month earlier, scored the deciding goal in the shootout. Quick ended up allowing one goal in three starts against the Blues during the regular season.

Playoff fact: The Kings and Blues have twice met in the postseason, in 1969 and 1998, with the Blues sweeping both series.

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