The Los Angeles Kings equaled their best 11-game start to a season in franchise history while the St. Louis Blues remain the NHL’s lone undefeated team at home in 2017-18. The Pacific and Central Division leaders vie for early Western Conference supremacy on Monday when the Kings conclude their six-game road trip at Scottrade Center against the Blues.
Tyler Toffoli capped his two-goal performance in exhilarating fashion, scoring off a faceoff with less than a second remaining in overtime as Los Angeles matched the team’s 1980-81 start (9-1 with one tie) with a 2-1 win over Boston on Saturday. “You can say it’s luck. You can say it’s good bounces. But at the same time, we’re working hard, we’re working for those bounces,” said captain Anze Kopitar, who has recorded 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 39 career encounters with St. Louis. Like the Kings, the Blues are off to a flying start and improved to 5-0-1 in their last six on Saturday by winning the opener of their four-game homestand with a 4-1 triumph over Columbus. Fourth-liner Scottie Upshall registered his first three-point performance in nearly three years with a goal and two assists as St. Louis claimed its ninth win in its first 12 games to a season for the sixth time in franchise history and first since 2010-11.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE KINGS (9-1-1): Jonathan Quick has distanced himself from an injury-riddled campaign last season with a stellar start this month, allowing just one goal in his last two games while improving his save percentage (.946) and goals-against average (1.76) in the process. The 31-year-old hasn’t been as fortunate versus the Blues, against whom he has dropped 13 of 21 career decisions (8-10-3) despite posting a .919 save percentage and 2.23 GAA. Kopitar notched an assist for his team-leading 13th point on Saturday and is well above pace to surpass his 52-point season of 2016-17.
ABOUT THE BLUES (9-2-1): St. Louis is receiving an offensive jolt from Vladimir Sobotka, who cleaned up a rebound to score his first goal of the season and earn his fourth point (one goal, three assists) in five games late in the first period on Saturday. The 30-year-old Czech, who has collected all eight of his points (one goal, seven assists) in the Blues’ nine wins this season, has tallied twice in 13 games since returning to the club from the Kontinental Hockey League toward the end of last season. Jaden Schwartz, who leads the team in goals (seven) and points (15), scored and set up a goal versus Los Angeles last season and has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 12 career encounters with the Kings.
1. St. Louis is a perfect 8-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.
2. Former Norris Trophy winner D Drew Doughty will play in his 700th career NHL game for Los Angeles on Monday.
3. The Blues are just 2-for-20 on the power play in their last seven games after scoring with the man advantage in each of their first five contests to begin the season.
PREDICTION: Blues 2, Kings 1