Originally written March 23, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock liked his team's challenge Thursday night, a meeting with the high-flying Los Angeles Kings. Hitchcock hasn't been happy with the Blues' compete level the past few games, and with the Kings riding a five-game winning streak, they would force his club to find its edge. It's bizarre to think that the Blues located it while being shut out, but that was the truth Thursday after they posted 35 shots on goal and 40 hits, only to lose 1-0 to the Kings in a shootout. "We competed at a very high level," said Hitchcock, whose club plays in Phoenix on Sunday. "If we can build on that, there's a term you use all the time ... you've got to play well and lose before you can start winning again. So hopefully we're at that stage and we can build on this. "Like I said, if these two teams ever met up, it would be a helluva (playoff) series." The Blues picked up one point and remained in first place in the NHL standings with 101, while the victory propelled Los Angeles into first place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference. While the Kings left with the two points, the Blues bottled up an offense that had scored 20 goals in its five-game winning streak and hadn't netted fewer than four in its previous four games. "As a team, I think we did," Blues center Patrik Berglund said. "This team (L.A.) is on a roll, battling for a playoff spot, and I think we came in and game them a helluva game." NOTES, QUOTES --The Blues tied their franchise record Thursday with their 13th shutout, albeit in a 1-0 shootout defeat to the Los Angeles Kings. Brian Elliott made 37 saves for his seventh shutout; coupled with Jaroslav Halak's six, that equals the mark set by Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall in 1968-69. "It's an accomplishment, for sure," Elliott said. "Jaro and I are happy to take that. It's something that you've got to put in your back pocket and really not think about the rest of the year. It's the furthest thing from my mind right now." --Forwards Alex Steen and Matt D'Agostini, who have both been out with concussions, are cleared for contact. Steen has been out since Dec. 30, missing 36 games, and D'Agostini has been out since Feb. 7, missing 23. "Alex has been cleared to come back in full participation now," general manager Doug Armstrong said. "They're available now to be evaluated as players moving forward. Now I'm not saying they're playing yet, but they're in that process now where they're going to participate in the full practices." QUOTE TO NOTE: "Sometimes you second-guess yourself about things that don't go in, and feel like you could have done something different, but take your hat off to Quickie there. He made a helluva save." -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner on being robbed by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with 2:40 left in regulation of a 1-0 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
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