A few hours before Game 1 of the second-round playoff series, St. Louis Ken Hitchcock said those expecting a low-scoring game between the Kings and Blues would be "shocked and surprised."
No, not really.
In a game that was every bit as physical and tight-checking as expected, the two teams that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season went down to the wire, and the Kings got a late empty-net goal to clinch a 3-1 victory in St. Louis.
The series continues with Game 2 on Monday, and if anything, it figures to only get more intense. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was strong, and the Kings -- for the most part -- did a good job of keeping the Blues' shots and scoring chances away from the front of the net.
It's fair to bet that, in Game 2, the Blues will be focused on pushing the action to the slot and the front of the net, and the Blues will also be focused on a better special-teams effort.
The Kings went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and got an unlikely shorthanded goal by Matt ...