March 5, 2013 2:45 pm

Game 21 Preview: St. Louis at Los Angeles

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Bernier
Season: 6 GP (5 GS) / 5-1-0 record / 1.51 GAA / .933 Sv% / 0 SHO
Career vs St. Louis: 3 (3) / 2-1-0 / 2.34 / .910 / 0
Last Game vs St. Louis: 2/11/13 / 60 MP / 21/22 shots / 4-1 W
2012-13, Home: 3 (3) / 3-0-0 / 1.00 / .954 / 0

Projected Starting Goaltender, St. Louis – Jaroslav Halak
Season: 9 (9) / 5-1-1 / 1.90 / .901 / 2
Career vs Los Angeles: 8 (8) / 6-2-0 / 1.70 / .935 / 2
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 2/3/12 / 60 MP / 22/22 shots / 1-0 W
2012-13, Away: 4 (4) / 1-0-1 / 3.11 / .862 / 0

Leading Scorers, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (6-12=18)
Goals: Jeff Carter (14-2=16)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (6-12=18)
Plus/Minus: Slava Voynov (+10; 3-9=12)
Penalty Minutes: Jordan Nolan (31; 2-2=4)

Leading Scorers, St. Louis
Total Points: Kevin Shattenkirk (2-15=17)
Goals: Patrik Berglund (9-2=11)
Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk (2-15=17)
Plus/Minus: Barret Jackman (+4; 2-2=4)
Penalty Minutes: Ryan Reaves (51; 0-1=1)

A stick tap goes to: Kevin Shattenkirk. The defenseman has remained steady during St. Louis’ recent inconsistencies and an eight-game scoreless stretch by Alex Pietrangelo. The Connecticut native and former high school prep hockey opponent of Jonathan Quick is tied for second in the league in defensive scoring (2-15=17) and should be an anchor of the U.S. Olympic team’s push for a medal at next year’s Winter Olympics.

A fist shake goes to: St. Louis goaltending. How could this be, one year after the Blues’ duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott backstopped a defense that allowed 1.89 goals per game? St. Louis ranks last in the league with a .875 save percentage, though Halak’s groin injury has been a factor in the team’s inconsistencies between the pipes.

Why the Kings need to win this game: The Blues have underachieved for the last month but should rebound as the goaltending solidifies. Make no mistake, St. Louis is a playoff team, and one that Los Angeles will be in a dogfight with over the remainder of the truncated schedule. Also: six teams are tied with 24 points. Should the Blues, Sharks, Wild and Red Wings all win tonight, the Kings would be out of the top eight.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – 18 / 2.65; STL – 14 / 2.76
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 6 / 2.35; STL – t-18 / 2.86
Power Play: LAK – t-14 / 17.7%; STL – 2 / 29.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – t-13 / 82.7%; STL – 19 / 79.4%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-16 / 28.8; STL – 20 / 28.3
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 25.0; STL – 1 / 22.9
Faceoffs: LAK – 7 / 51.8%; STL – 21 / 49.4%
Save Percentage: LAK – t-15 / .906; STL – 30 / .875

Projected Lines – Los Angeles

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Trevor Lewis – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Dwight King
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick

Notes: Jonathan Bernier did not take the ice during the morning skate, while Jonathan Quick stayed on for extra work with tonight’s projected scratches, Davis Drewiske and Brad Richardson. Including the playoffs, the Kings have won six consecutive games against the Blues. As always, projected lines are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Projected Lines – St. Louis

Jaden Schwartz – David Backes – T.J. Oshie
David Perron – Patrik Berglund – Chris Stewart
Chris Porter – Vladimir Sobotka – Matt D’Agostini
Adam Cracknell – Scott Nichol – Ryan Reaves

Barret Jackman – Alex Pietrangelo
Ian Cole – Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell – Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Notes: Via Curtis Zupke. Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Andy McDonald and Jamie Langenbrunner are out of the lineup due to injury. The Blues are 0-1-0 thus far in their five-game Pacific Division swing after having lost 4-1 to Dallas on Sunday. They’ll play in Phoenix on Thursday, San Jose on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday. Including games against Anaheim, St. Louis hasn’t won in Southern California since March 17, 2011, when they beat Los Angeles 4-0 at Staples Center. As always, projected lines are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.