Blues-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 22, 2012
Maintaining their spot among the top eight teams in the Western Conference remains the primary focus for the Los Angeles Kings. Avoiding a first-round matchup with the West-leading St. Louis Blues might also be worth thinking about. Hoping to better their playoff position, the Kings look to extend their season-best winning streak to six games when they host the Blues in a potential postseason preview Thursday night. Los Angeles (36-25-12) has won five in a row and eight of 10 to grab hold of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. If the current conference standings were to hold up, the Kings would face St. Louis (46-20-8) in the first round. However, Los Angeles is one point behind Pacific Division-leading Dallas. The difference between first and second in the crowded division - which has its top four teams within three points of each other - is third and eighth in the conference. Though the Kings know they have a chance to possibly take over the Pacific lead with a win Thursday, they simply want to focus on extending a season high with a sixth straight home win. "I don't know if you want to wait until the end of the year to play like this, but we're doing it now," said forward Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and three assists in the last four games. "It's nice to see us in the playoff picture, but we know there's still a lot of work to be done. We're definitely showing signs." Kopitar and Mike Richards each had a goal with two assists in Tuesday's 5-2 home win over San Jose. The Kings have outscored their opponents 21-10 during the five-game overall winning stretch. "You can feel the room coming together," defenseman Willie Mitchell told the Kings' official website. "We've got a lot of work to do. If we get in (the playoffs), we can be a pretty scary team." Los Angeles has not made things easy on the Blues while going 2-1-0 against them this season. Though Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves in St. Louis' 1-0 victory in the teams' last meeting Feb. 3, the Kings snapped a four-game home skid in the series with a 5-0 win Oct. 18. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in that contest and stopped 32 shots in last month's defeat at St. Louis. He has a 1.96 goals-against average during his personal four-game winning streak. Kopitar has two goals and an assist against the Blues this season while Richards has one goal with two assists. St. Louis has already clinched its first playoff berth since 2009 and leads second-place Vancouver by five points in the West, but the Blues have lost three of four since opening a seven-game road trip with a 2-1 win at Columbus on March 11. Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal in as many NHL games Wednesday and David Backes added his team-leading 22nd, but St. Louis blew three one-goal leads en route to a 4-3 loss at Anaheim. The Blues fell to 37-1-1 when scoring at least three goals this season. "Points are crucial for us, and we've got to bear down and be better in those situations," defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo said. "It's a little uncharacteristic of us to blow three one-goal leads, let alone one. We've been so good at that this year." St. Louis' David Perron has four goals in his last six games overall, but Backes has been held without a point against the Kings in 2011-12.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jets to hire female defensive backs coach

Vince Young officially inks contract with CFL team

Jason Witten: Bill Parcells is getting soft in his old age

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

Magic Johnson indicates Brandon Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

Congress drafted a bill that could legalize online sports betting; how soon might it happen?

Oscar De La Hoya writes scathing letter opposing Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue saying Boston tougher to defend than Golden State

Concussions won’t change the way Luke Kuechly plays

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker