Bernier, Kings Come From Behind, Squash Blues

SAINT LOUIS – Jonathan Bernier saved 23 of 25 shots and Willie Mitchell slapped home the game winner Tuesday night against the Blues, who fell for the first time in regulation since Ken Hitchcock took over for Davis Payne. Both teams played a spirited, intense game, but the Kings’ stars clicked to beat Jaroslav Halak and win 3-2.

Just 1:07 into the first period, the Blues got on the board with a give-and-go play in the slot between T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen. Steen wristed the puck past Bernier for his eighth of the season. Steen now leads all Blues players in goals (8) and points (14).

Bernier was key in the Kings’ win. Early in the second, Bernier stopped a point blank chance from Backes. Trent Hunter took a penalty 3:00 into the period, and on the ensuing powerplay, Bernier robbed Steen in the crease. Kevin Shattenkirk also hit the post, failing to capitalize on the man-advantage.

Later in the second, on a Kings’ powerplay, Barret Jackman was pick-pocketed in the corner by Mike Richards.  Richards found Anze Kopitar in the slot who buried the puck and evened the score.

The action continued to go end-to-end throughout the final minutes of the second. Patrik Berglund slid behind the Kings’ defense and received a pass from Vladimir Sobotka that Berneir kept out. Jarret Stoll had a chance at the other end, challenging Halak for the lead. Halak held the post to maintain the tied score.

At the end of the second as the buzzer rang, King Captain Dustin Brown laid out Blues defenseman Kris Russell, setting up an environment of animosity for the third period.

At 4:41 of the third, Jackman coughed up another puck that resulted in a Los Angeles goal. Andrei Loktionov feathered the puck to Richards in the slot who snapped it past a helpless Halak. The Blues responded to the goal by taking a bad penalty, and granting the Kings another powerplay chance.

Just over halfway through the third, a streaking Matt D’Agostini slid behind the Kings’ goal line and set up Sobotka in the slot. With the tying goal, the Blues thought momentum was shifting back in their favor. LA countered.

Less than two minutes after Sobotka’s game-tying goal, LA defenseman Mitchell fired a low slap shot from the point that deflected off of Scott Nichol and past Halak. Mitchell’s goal ended up winning the game for LA. Despite the Blues’ best effort in the final two minutes of play, Bernier and the Kings held off the Blues to gain a win.

Coming off a tough loss to LA, the Blues head to Pittsburgh Wednesday to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game time is 6 p.m. CST and the game will air on Fox Sports Midwest.

Blue Notes

  • David Perron is approximately 2-3 weeks from returning to the Blues’ lineup.
  • T.J. Oshie went hard into the boards in the final seconds of the game on a hit from Drew Doughty. He appeared to hurt his shoulder, but after the game, Hitchcock claimed Oshie was “good.”
  • Oshie has nine points in his last nine games.
  • Carlo Colaiacovo has been placed on IR retroactive to last Friday (hamstring).
  • Chris Stewart missed Tuesday’s game serving while serving a three game suspension for hitting Detroit Red Wing Niklas Kronwall last week. Stewart is eligible to return to the lineup tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.
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