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Blues and Kings battle in key Western Conference clash

10:18 AM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Blues will try to avoid their longest losing streak since early February when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Thursday's battle at Scottrade Center.

The Blues have lost their lost two games -- both in regulation -- and last year's Central Division champions have dropped three of four overall. St. Louis, which is tied with San Jose for the final two playoff seeds in the West, hasn't lost three consecutive contests since going 0-4-1 from Feb. 1-11.

However, the Blues have not fared well in recent years against the Kings, who enter Thursday's meeting having won seven straight and nine of the last 10 encounters overall. Los Angeles also has taken the past three meetings in the Gateway City.

St. Louis was handed a 3-2 setback Sunday at Calgary and followed that loss with Tuesday's 3-0 defeat at the hands of visiting Edmonton. Nikolai Khabibulin posted 43 saves for his first shutout of the season, as the Blues were blanked for the first time since dropping a 3-0 decision to Chicago on Feb. 28.

Jake Allen allowed three goals on seven shots before being pulled early in the second period for the Blues. Jaroslav Halak stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief.

"We're not happy to lose a couple of games in a row, but we've still got time left to make it up," said Allen. "It's not the end of the world, but we're going to have to get back on our horse quick."

St. Louis outshot the Oilers by a whopping 43-19 margin and recorded a 21-5 advantage in second period.

The Blues had won five straight on home ice before Tuesday's loss and are 8-6-1 as the host this season. St. Louis will wrap a brief two-game homestand on Thursday before playing six of its next seven on the road.

The Kings, who are two points ahead of St. Louis for the sixth seed, began their five-game road trip with a win, notching a thrilling 5-4 victory Monday night in Chicago. Dustin Brown scored the game-winning goal with 1:27 remaining in regulation to lift the Los Angeles to the comeback win at United Center.

L.A. was coming off a pair of shutout losses and trailed the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks on three separate occasions before rallying for the win. Tyler Toffoli tied the game in the third period, while the Kings also received goals from Anze Kopitar, Dwight King and Jarret Stoll, who had a short-handed tally in a wild second period.

Jonathan Quick picked up the win with 21 saves for the Kings.

L.A. is 6-8-1 as the visiting team this season and will visit Minnesota, Dallas and Phoenix before completing this swing.

The Sports Network

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