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Kings blitz Blues early, win 5-2

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kings-kopitar_0.jpg By R.B. Fallstrom, AP
April 30, 2012


ST. LOUIS — Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff, whipping St. Louis 5-2 Monday night for their fifth straight road win this postseason.

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Dustin Penner and Dustin Brown each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy of the franchise playoff record of five in 1993 against Vancouver.

Brown assisted on Kopitar's short-handed goal and has a hand in all four of the Kings' short-handed goals in the playoffs, two goals and two assists.

Andy McDonald scored 18 seconds into the second for St. Louis but Justin Williams squashed thoughts of a comeback when he scored on the Kings' first shot of the period, then they sat on that cushion, taking five shots the last two periods.

Matt D'Agostini scored in the third for St. Louis, which was 0 for 9 on the power play
Kopitar has three goals and three assists in the playoffs, and has scored in five straight playoff games after leading the Kings in scoring for the fifth straight season with 25 goals and 76 points. Brown added a third assist in the second period and has a team-leading nine points in the postseason.

The Kings have won seven straight on the road in the playoffs counting a pair against San Jose last spring and are in an enviable spot taking the series back to Los Angeles, with Game 3 Thursday night. They opened the first round with a pair of victories at Vancouver, taking out the President's Trophy winners in five games, but before that held just one 2-0 series lead back in 1968 when they lost in seven in the first round to Minnesota.

The Blues are 1-16 in franchise history when facing a 2-0 series deficit, the lone exception in the first round against Minnesota in 1972 when they rallied to win in seven games.

St. Louis had the NHL's stingiest defense in the regular season, with goalies Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak combining for 15 shutouts and each blanking the Kings once. They surrendered more goals in the first period of Game 2 than in any regular season period, with Elliott usually on his own.

Even an early fight between B.J. Crombeen and Dwight King, whose boarding penalty knocked out star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in Game 1, failed to provide a spark.

Pietrangelo was a Game 2 scratch but with a lower body injury rather than a concussion-related issue as had been feared after he crashed face-first into the boards near the end of the second period, and could return to a needy lineup for Game 3.

The charge began from the opening faceoff, with Richards scoring on the game's first shot at 31 seconds from the slot after Penner dangled the puck near the net for several seconds before tossing it out.

The Kings had an 8-0 shots advantage before Jonathan Quick finally faced a shot at 9:21, then undressed the Blues' power play for their second short-handed goal of the series with Brown stealing the puck from Carlo Colaiacovo in the St. Louis zone and feeding it in front to Kopitar, who had enough time to stretch Elliott across the crease to the breaking point.

That was just the second two-goal deficit of the playoffs for the Blues, the first coming on an empty-net goal in the Kings' 3-1 Game 1 victory. The Kings were just getting warmed up, adding two goals in a span of three shots late in the period.

Carter's shot on a rush deflected high off Roman Polak and right back to his stick, and he beat Elliott with a high shot at 18:37. And with 16.8 seconds left, Kopitar batted in a feed from Williams.

Counting the regular season and playoffs, Kopitar has 11 goals and 30 points in 25 career games against St. Louis.

NOTES: The Blues allowed three goals in a period eight times, the last time Feb. 22, in a 4-2 loss to Boston. ... St. Louis allowed three short-handed goals in the regular season. ... Brown is the first player with four short-handed points in the playoffs since Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg had five points in 2008.

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