ST. LOUIS Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter did more than give the Los Angeles Kings a commanding lead by scoring four goals in the first period Monday night. They made the St. Louis Blues a team that has built its identity on elite defense and goaltending all season question their direction in what has become a lopsided series.
The Kings' early surge on their way to a 5-2 victory and a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference semifinal left Scottrade Center silent, it made Blues goalie Brian Elliott slam his stick against a goal post, and it caused a stunned crowd to let out a sarcastic cheer when the public-address announcer declared there was one minute left in the Blues' most embarrassing period to date.
It all happened at the worst possible time. After mental gaffes led to a Game 1 loss on Saturday, the Blues were a mess of loose defense and undisciplined play in the first 20 minutes of Game 2.
Consider some of the carnage: Kings winger Dustin Penner knocked defen...