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Preview: Blues at Kings

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

There were no hiccups in Jonathan Quick's performance on Saturday as he backstopped the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings to their first victory this postseason. The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner would love to receive more than one goal of support in Game 4 on Monday as host Los Angeles attempts to even its Western Conference first-round series against the fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues. The Kings dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions - including one in overtime - in St. Louis before once again scoring just one goal at Staples Center in Game 3, but Quick turned aside all 30 shots he faced for his fifth career postseason shutout.

Quick also was superb in the first two games of the series but had lapses late in each contest that resulted in game-winning goals by St. Louis. Alex Steen forced Quick to cough up the puck behind his net in overtime of the series opener and pounced on it to score a short-handed goal. With Game 2 tied at 1-1, Quick allowed a long-range goal by Blues defenseman Barret Jackman with 51 seconds remaining and St. Louis held on to take a 2-0 series lead.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN West (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE BLUES: Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko could make his NHL postseason debut Monday after being a healthy scratch for each of the first three games of the series. The right wing went the entire month of April (15 games) without scoring a goal and tallied in just one of his last 25 contests - a two-goal performance against Los Angeles on March 28. "I think he looks hungry and ready to play, and I'm sure he's going to play well when he gets in," coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But you're not really sure if you want to screw around with the lineup right now when we're playing so well." Right wing Ryan Reaves recorded three hits in Game 3, giving him 15 over the first three contests of the series.

ABOUT THE KINGS: Coach Darryl Sutter elected to dress seven defensemen in Game 3, and the decision paid off as new addition Alec Martinez recorded an assist on the only goal of the contest. Martinez received 12:45 of ice time in his first appearance since April 2. "I felt a little rusty, but it's playoff hockey and every guy wants to play in theses games," he told the Los Angeles Times. "If you're having a hard time getting up for a playoff game, then you've got bigger problems." Martinez, who is of Spanish decent, lightened the mood at practice Sunday by wearing a sombrero along with a red sock, a white sock and a green jersey in honor of the Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday.

OVERTIME

1. Los Angeles has been outshot 20-8 in the third period over the last two games.

2. St. Louis G Brian Elliott has allowed just one goal in each of his last six starts and nine of his last 10.

3. Including the regular season, the Kings have won eight straight home contests and have not allowed a first-period goal during the streak.

PREDICTION: Kings 3, Blues 1

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130508/preview-blues-at-kings-0