Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/30/12
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 Greene, while the Blues were called for eight minutes' worth of penalties in the third period. "We were aware of their offensive abilities,'' Kings captain Dustin Brown said of the Blues. "With the way we play and the goalie we have, it's important for us to protect the middle of the ice and try to limit those opportunities. They had a couple early, where they got in and Quickie made big saves. "For whatever reason, we gave those chances up, but I think we did a pretty good job of correcting those mistakes and limiting their grade-A scoring chances the rest of the game.'' NOTES, QUOTES Kings-Blues series has family ties --The Kings had to make an 1,800-mile trip to face St. Louis in Game 1, but there are some connections between the teams. Dwight King, a rookie winger for the Kings, is the brother of D.J. King, who played 101 games for the Blues over parts of four seasons. D.J. King is now a member of the Washington organization. Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon spent nine seasons in St. Louis as the Blues' video coach before he joined the Kings. Also, Brian Sutter, the brother of Kings coach Darryl Sutter, is a former head coach of the Blues. --The Kings had never before recorded a playoff victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Kings were swept by the Blues in four games in 1969 and in 1998. --The Kings could soon be getting some reinforcements, at least in terms of practice. The Manchester Monarchs, the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate, were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday, so the team is expected to call up a handful of players. Also expected to join the Kings is their top forward prospect, Tyler Toffoli, who had his junior season ended on Friday when the Ottawa 67s lost to Niagara. Toffoli led the Ontario Hockey League with 52 goals in the regular season, and also scored 11 goals in 18 playoff games. It's not known if Toffoli might play in any games during the postseason. QUOTE TO NOTE: "They came out hard in the first 10. We expected that. It looks like it took us about 10, 12 (minutes) to get our legs underneath us. After that, we played a great game. We kept them to the perimeter, cleared out any rebounds and came into the middle. ... It's a great win. We've got to enjoy it for five minutes and then focus in on Monday.'' -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: --D Matt Greene scored a shorthanded goal with 1:03 remaining in the second period, which held up as the game-winning goal. The goal couldn't have been less likely. Not only was it a shorthanded goal, but it came from Greene, a physical, stay-at-home defenseman who, before Saturday, had not scored a goal in 35 career playoff games. Greene crashed the net and knocked in the rebound of a shot by LW Dustin Brown. Greene, an alternate captain and penalty-kill stalwart, scored four goals in the regular season and has scored a total of 11 goals in 461 regular-season games. --G Jonathan Quick got some good news while the Kings waited for the start of their second-round series. This week, Quick was named as one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's top goalie. Quick is a finalist along with Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Quick led the league with 10 shutouts this season and was in the top five in goals-against average and save percentage. Quick allowed a total of only eight goals in five first-round games against Vancouver. --LW Kyle Clifford is still trying to get back into the lineup after he suffered a concussion on April 11 in Game 1 of the first-round series against Vancouver. Clifford hasn't played since, but he has been a full participant in practice in the previous two days. "I feel good,'' Clifford said. "I started practicing yesterday. I've just got to keep getting ready for the next game, whenever it is, and keep going one day at a time. We can't get ahead of ourselves. I'll just stay positive.'' Clifford's spot on the Kings' fourth line has been filled by LW Brad Richardson, alongside C Colin Fraser and RW Jordan Nolan.
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