The last two times the Los Angeles Kings met the St. Louis Blues in the regular season, the teams split 1-0 wins.
To say goals will be at a premium in their Western Conference semi-final - when Darryl Sutter’s Kings square off against Ken Hitchcock’s Blues - would be an understatement.
To parody the Kings’ Twitter account: To everyone who wanted a tight-checking, neutral-zone battle with little offence, you’re welcome.
Los Angeles moved on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 11 years when it eliminated the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
Having knocked off the Western Conference’s top seed, the Kings now move on to the second seed. The Blues won the central division and eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the first round.
Los Angeles had every reason to celebrate after dispatching the Canucks. Few gave the Kings much of a chance to win the series before it began - let alone to do it in five games.
But if Kings players were content with just winning one series, they didn’t show it in the locker room. Though they confessed they’d have fun on the plane ride back to California, they appeared focused on the task at hand.
‘We’ve played them well in the regular season,” Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick said of the Blues. “They’re a big, physical team. Great goaltending. Great defensive system. They’re going to be quite a test for us. We’re looking forward to it, we’re looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully it turns out the same way this one did.”
The Kings blew out the Blues in their first regular-season meeting in October, winning 5-0.
Then came the coaching changes.
When the teams squared off in November, St. Louis had a new bench boss in Hitchcock. Unfortunately for the Blues, the result was the same, as they lost 3-2.
The two sides next met in February, with Darryl Sutter the new coach in Los Angeles.
The Kings beat St. Louis in a shootout in March.
Dustin Brown, who’s been with the Kings since he broke into the league in 2003-04 and captain since 2008, said it’s nice to finally have a series win under his belt.
“It’s huge. I’ve been here for eight, nine years and this is a pretty good feeling for a lot of guys in here. Especially some of the guys who have been here for extended amounts of time. It’s been a work in progress. This team has worked hard,” he said.
Anze Kopitar said L.A.’s win over Vancouver “shows the character of this team.”
“We’ve been through a lot this season.”