The Kings are scheduled to return to practice this morning in El Segundo sometime around 10:30-10:45 a.m., in preparation for their second-round series against St. Louis. Approximately 1,800 miles away, the Blues are preparing as well, and based on what he’s saying in the media, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is already doing some mental work with his players, trying to get them into the proper mindset. Hitchcock yesterday said that the Kings “play real nasty,” intending that as a high compliment. Blues forward T.J. Oshie followed suit, as he said, “I think the more physical team is going to win. Whoever plays the most physical the longest is going to get the job done.” Of course, that’s no surprise. Both teams are strong defensive teams, and the Kings could say much the same about the Blues.
It appears that Brian Elliott will get the call in goal for the first two games against the Kings. Jaroslav Halak is recovering from an ankle injury, and the Blues have said that Halak will miss the first two games of the series. In the regular season, Halak played 46 games, with a 26-12-7 record, a 1.97 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and six shutouts, while Elliott played 38 games, with a 23-10-4 record, a 1.56 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and nine shutouts. In the first round against San Jose, Elliott went 3-0. For a pre-series primer on the Blues, here are a couple stories from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch