The St. Louis Blues were perfect in their own rink during October but have been just average at Scottrade Center since, needing a victory over the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Friday to clinch a winning five-game homestand. The Blues were 5-0-0 at home in October and have gone 4-4-0 in their last eight games in St. Louis after dropping a 3-2 decision against Anaheim on Wednesday.
“For me, right now, we’re not consistently hard enough to play against at home,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told reporters. “It seems like we do it for a game and then we kind of back off a game. … Whether we just come to the rink with the assumption that the result is going our way, I’m not sure. We earned the position that we’re in. We’re in a good spot, but we have to remember that we earned it.” St. Louis still is just one point behind Tampa Bay (36) for the most in the league and is 5-1-0 in its last six meetings with Los Angeles, including a 4-2 home victory on Oct. 30. Los Angeles has turned things around following a baffling 1-6-1 stretch, recording three straight wins - including a 5-2 victory at Washington on Thursday in which Marian Gaborik scored a pair of goals. The 35-year-old Slovakian was playing in just his fourth game of the season due to injuries and pulled within two of both 400 goals and 800 points.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE KINGS (15-8-3): Los Angeles earned a big victory on Thursday without a point from its top three scorers - captain Anze Kopitar (12 goals, 16 assists), Dustin Brown (10, 11) and defenseman Drew Doughty (four, 14). Rookie forward Jonny Brodzinski scored his second NHL goal and Jussi Jokinen netted the go-ahead tally - his first goal in eight contests since being acquired from Edmonton. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for his third straight victory (four goals allowed in that span) but has yet to play on back-to-back nights this season and is 8-11-3 lifetime versus St. Louis.
ABOUT THE BLUES (17-7-1): St. Louis has allowed a pair of power-play goals in each of its last two games and dropped to 27th in the league in penalty-killing (17.9 percent) through Wednesday’s contests. “I think we’ve got to stop the bleeding now and find a way to get better,” forward Kyle Brodziak told reporters. “We’ve still got time, but a game like (Wednesday), the penalty kill could have found a way to win a game for us, and instead, we found a way to lose the game.” Jaden Schwartz has recorded 15 points in his last 11 games and leads the team with 32.
1. St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko, who is second on the team behind Schwartz (13) with 12 goals, has notched six points in his last four contests.
2. Los Angeles C Torrey Mitchell has yet to play his first game since being acquired from Montreal on Nov. 23 due to visa issues.
3. Blues C Patrik Berglund, who missed the team’s first 24 games due to shoulder surgery, registered three shots in his season debut on Wednesday.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Kings 3