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Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Jaroslav Halak out for entire series

By Pierre LeBrun

ST. LOUIS -- You can forget seeing Jaroslav Halak come to the rescue for the Blues.

"He won’t play in the series," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said in dropping a minibomb after his team’s 5-2 loss Monday night to fall behind 2-0 in its second-round series with L.A.

Halak hasn’t played since suffering a suspected ankle injury 49 seconds into Game 2 against San Jose in the opening round.

Brian Elliott gave up five goals on 21 shots Monday night, although he was hardly fully to blame, as his team’s defensive coverage was porous.

Power-play Blues

Where Hitchcock was the most concerned through two games in this series was on the power play.

The Blues went 0-for-9 with the man advantage Monday night and now are 0-for-12 for the series. Including their regular-season games with the Kings this year, they’re now 0-for-23 overall.

To make matters worse, the Kings have scored two short-handed goals in the series, including Anze Kopitar’s beautiful tally Monday night that made it 2-0 at 14:16 of the first period.

"The power play is costing us in a big way,” Hitchcock said. "It’s hurting us. Short-handed goals take away a lot of momentum. We’ve had two [against them] in two games. Careless play by us."

Blues captain David Backes figures the Kings don’t mind taking penalties because of it.

"The way our power play's going, they were taking liberties left and right because they kill it off, they score on the penalty kill,” Backes said. "That's a good thing for them. It's something we'll look hard at and Thursday be better at."

Penner on fire

The much-maligned Dustin Penner has one goal and three assists through two games in the series.

He’s been an effective force on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

Who knew?

"It’s good to see that emotional investment from Dustin, right?" Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Good to see and good for him. I said it before the series, we need him to have a good series."