Doughty, Kopitar lead LA Kings’ 4-1 rout of slumping Blues
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Drew Doughty, Carl Grundström and Trevor Moore scored in a dominant first period, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Moore had a goal and an assist for his first multipoint game of the season, while captain Anze Kopitar scored an empty-net goal from the opposite goal line and added an assist. Cal Petersen made 19 saves to end his five-start losing streak for the Kings, who looked sharp in just their third win in 10 games.
Los Angeles and St. Louis were scheduled for two consecutive games at Staples Center this week, but Monday’s game was postponed after a blizzard stranded the Kings in Denver, where they had just lost back-to-back games to the Avalanche.
“The Colorado trip, it was hard on us,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “A lot of things happened on that trip with illness, the storm, with us not playing very well (and) losing both games, and then spending that extra day there didn’t help. I thought our leaders did a tremendous job.”
Mike Hoffman scored and Jordan Binnington stopped 20 shots for the well-rested Blues, who have lost five straight. Despite having the previous three days off, St. Louis got off to a timid start and failed to earn a point for only the second time in nine games.
“We can’t be turning on each other, getting negative,” Hoffman said of the Blues’ slump. “Otherwise it can go south real quick. This group is good enough that we can work our way out of this, but we’ve got to stay positive and keep working.”
Los Angeles won for the fifth time in seven meetings this season with its West Division rivals.
Doughty got the Kings started 3:21 in with a shot from the slot on a power play for his seventh goal of the season and the Kings’ 26th man-advantage goal in only 28 games. Kopitar got an assist for his 20th power-play point of the season, second-most in the NHL.
Just 58 seconds later, Grundström charged the net and stuffed a shot past Binnington to end his 14-game goal drought.
“I think it’s been a point of emphasis for us lately,” Moore said of the Kings’ outstanding start. “A couple of good shifts led to that drawn penalty, and then our power play has been good all year, and we cashed in.”
St. Louis didn’t record its first shot until 8:03 into the first period, and Moore ended his 11-game goal drought late in the period.
“It was really slow,” captain Ryan O’Reilly said of the Blues’ first period. “We just didn’t really start with the urgency we needed. Again, we just weren’t quick enough. We weren’t physical. D-zone, we weren’t sharp to goal, and that’s what killed us. We did some good things in the second and the third, but our hole was too deep there. Yeah, we beat ourselves.”
Hoffman scored on a long, deflected shot through traffic late in the second period, but the Blues mounted little offense.
Kopitar sealed the win by shoveling a backhand from the deep corner of the Kings’ end into St. Louis’ empty net with 1:40 to play.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan had two assists in his first appearance since Feb. 18. The Kings’ 21-year-old forward had been out with an undisclosed injury, but he jumped right back in on a line with Grundström and Moore.
“I felt good,” Anderson-Dolan said. “Just trying to get the physical part out of the way and throw a couple of hits. To get your timing back, you can’t really simulate that in practice. I felt pretty good for being out for a while, but a long way to go to get to where I want to be.”
Blues center Tyler Bozak returned from long-term injured reserve after missing 21 games since Jan. 26 with a concussion. The 34-year-old veteran played 20 shifts and took nine faceoffs.
Doughty’s power-play goal was his 64th, passing Wayne Gretzky for ninth place in Kings history. Doughty has played 408 more games for LA than The Great One.
Blues: At Sharks on Friday.
Kings: Host Vegas on Friday.
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By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer