Posted February 10, 2013 on
AP on Fox
St. Louis Blues
Los Angeles Kings
Detroit Red Wings
The St. Louis Blues fulfilled high expectations through their first seven games of the season, but have been on a downward spiral since and it's not difficult to see why.
The Blues hope Jaroslav Halak's return can help them end a four-game losing streak Monday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in the teams' first meeting since last season's Western Conference semifinals.
Halak was the one of the key pieces in St. Louis' impressive start, going 3-0-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and two shutouts before suffering a groin strain in a 5-3 loss at Detroit on Feb. 1. That ended the Blues' four-game win streak and started the current skid, with Brian Elliott struggling to match Halak in net.
Elliott allowed five goals on 23 shots in a 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim on Saturday, then four more on six shots in the tiebreaker. He is 0-3-1 with a 4.87 GAA in four appearances this month after leading the NHL with a 1.56 mark last season.
Coach Ken Hitchcock said Saturday that if Halak wasn't ready in time to face the Kings, he planned to give Jake Allen his first career start. Allen was assigned to Peoria, Ill., of the AHL on Sunday.
"He's not playing very good," Hitchcock told the team's official website about Elliott. "He'd be the first to tell you too. He's got to play better. A goalie is no different than a forward or a defenseman, they come in and out of the lineup based on performance and he's no different."
Chris Stewart and Alexander Steen each had a goal and two assists in Saturday's loss as St. Louis (6-4-1) broke out after totaling two goals in its previous two games. The Blues converted both of their power-play chances and are 8 for 20 with the man advantage in their last five contests.
''We competed for 65 minutes at a very high level,'' Hitchcock said. ''We played a heck of a hockey game.''
Hitchcock's team will look to exact a small measure of revenge after the Kings outscored the Blues 15-6 en route to a sweep in last season's conference semifinals. St. Louis did win three of four regular-season meetings, allowing only three goals.
Halak is 6-2-0 with a 1.70 GAA and two shutouts lifetime against Los Angeles, but sat out the playoff matchup with a lower-body injury.
This will be final stop on a five-game trip for the Kings (3-5-2), who are tied for last in the conference and have lost four of five.
Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Detroit may have been their most disheartening of the season. After Alec Martinez tied it 2-all with 53 seconds left in regulation, Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson scored on a slap shot with five seconds remaining.
Captain Dustin Brown remained positive after the Kings registered 47 shots - their most since they had 55 on April 10, 2010.
"Probably our best 60 minutes in a long time,'' Brown said. ''Got to forget about the last 10 seconds.''
Jonathan Quick went 4-0 with a 1.50 GAA in the playoff sweep of the Blues but is 3-8-1 lifetime against them in the regular season. Backup Jonathan Bernier made his only appearance this season in relief on Feb. 2.
Averaging 2.10 goals, the Kings are desperate for offense, and Anze Kopitar may be ready to provide some. He scored for the second time in three games Sunday and drew high praise from coach Darryl Sutter.
''I think it was Kopie's best game of the year,'' Sutter said. ''He had some bounce in his game.''
Kopitar and Brown both had two goals and four assists in the sweep of St. Louis.
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St. Louis Blues' fans are suddenly asking themselves, "Is Jaroslav Halak truly that good?" Well, since his injury, the St. Louis Blues have encountered a four game losing streak.
It is hard to say what exactly the cause is. It could be the fact that Brian Elliot has not played to the level that he did last year. Or it could be that the Blues' defense is...
ST. LOUIS St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced the club activated goaltender Jaroslav Halak from injured reserve today. In addition, the Blues assigned goaltender Jake Allen to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Peoria Rivermen.
Halak, 27, has appeared in five games this season posting a 3-0-0 record including a 2.10 goals...
The St. Louis Blues were sorely hoping for a shot in the arm and some stability between the pipes as they took on the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night in a rematch of last year's second round playoff series.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak was scheduled to return to the net, which meant the struggling Brian Elliott would return to the bench.
Unfortunately, it was Elliott who got...
The St. Louis Blues have activated goalie Jaroslav Halak from injured reserve, a signal that struggling Brian Elliott is headed for some time on the bench.
Halak is 3-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and two shutouts this season. He had been sidelined by a groin strain.
Coach Ken Hitchcock said Saturday that if Halak wasn't ready in time for Monday night's game against...
Ken Hitchcock and the St. Louis Blues, hot off of their stellar 2011-2012 season, thundered out of the gate in the shortened 2013 (2012-2013) campaign, posting a 6-1-0 record. However, during the past four games, they’ve posted a 0-3-1 mark, the last three games of which have been at the once-friendly confines of Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Ken Hitchcock has seen this before...
St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen lost the puck during his shootout attempt, but still managed to beat Anaheim Ducks Viktor Fasth. Steen clearly wanted to pull the puck back to his forehand, but Fasth saw that coming, so when Steen lost the puck, it threw Fasth off and he couldn’t recover in time.It was thought that this game would be a tight defensive battle, but that...
St. Louis native Joe Buck is a big fan of the St. Louis Blues. In fact, he's a season ticket holder. During the team's 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Buck visited the broadcast booth to talk to St. Louis announcers John Kelly and Darren Pang.
Pang and Kelly insisted Buck try his hand at doing play-by-play for some hockey and the results were ... interesting.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Los Angeles Kings dialed it back to their Stanley Cup run last spring, and put another beating on the St. Louis Blues.
Jeff Carter scored twice for the first time since the Game 6 Cup clincher over New Jersey and the Kings didn't need playoff star Jonathan Quick in goal to shut down St. Louis in a 4-1 victory on Monday night.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Viktor Fasth stopped three of six shootout attempts to become the first NHL goalie in eight years to win his first five starts, and Bobby Ryan had two goals and two assists as the Anaheim Ducks beat the struggling St. Louis Blues 6-5 on Saturday night.
Fasth, who began the game first in the NHL with a 1.06 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage, allowed...
You could describe the game between the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks with a lot of phrases and words. Wild. Unpredictable. Back and forth. High scoring. Error filled. Wacky. The ones the coaches would use would be more colorful.
The most important description? Ducks win 6-5 in a shootout.
From the way it began, you would not have guessed...
ST. LOUIS The St. Louis Blues have been struggling of late, having registered only one point in a four-game homestand and falling to fourth in the NHL Central Division. That, however, didn't stop St. Louis native and FOX Sports broadcaster Joe Buck from an impromptu session in the booth on Monday night.
Joe Buck joined Darren Pang and John Kelly with the Blues trailing the...