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Kings continue dominance of Blues

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Simply put, the Los Angeles Kings have owned the St. Louis Blues of late.

Mike Richards scored with 2:43 left to break a tie and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves to lead the Kings to a 4-2 win over St. Louis on Thursday night.

Los Angeles (19-12-2) has won the past eight games between the teams, including a four-game sweep in the Western Conference semifinals last season.

"Knock on wood, hopefully, it continues," Richards said.

The defending Stanley Cup champs have won five of their past seven, including their last two on the road.

St. Louis has dropped three in a row and four of five.

Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis and Justin Williams also scored for Los Angeles, which has outscored St. Louis 29-13 during its eight-game run of dominance.

"Every time we play them it's a physical game," LA's Anze Kopitar said. "We just focus on the very next game against them. It's not like we're looking back.

"Maybe we just catch them at the right time."

Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals for St. Louis, which dropped to 9-8-1 at home. The Blues (17-14-2) were 30-6-5 in St. Louis last season.

Quick improved to 12-10-2 with his second successive win.

Richards muscled the puck past goalie Jaroslav Halak from close range for his eighth goal of the season to break a late 2-2 tie. The grinding-type score brought a smile to the face of Richards, who had only one goal in his previous 10 games.

The veteran jammed away at the loose puck in the crease and shoved it between Halak and the post just seconds before the net became dislodged. The goal was reviewed by the officials.

"I'm not even sure what happened," Richards said. "You just look at the puck and poke, poke, poke. I got a little lucky and jammed it in."

The Kings, who held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, appear to be rounding into form with 15 games left in the regular season. Brown scored with 1:27 left to help LA to a 5-4 win at Chicago on Monday.

"Every game now is a playoff game," Lewis said. "Points are so crucial. This had a playoff feel. We've been in all kinds of situations and we know what it takes. Now, we've just got to build on this."

Tarasenko tied the score 2-2 with his eighth goal at 6:44 of the third period, poking in the rebound of a shot from Alex Pietrangelo. Tarasenko, who missed 10 games earlier in the season because of a concussion, slipped in behind Quick and calmly rolled the puck into the empty net.

Lewis gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with a harmless-looking backhand from close range at 12:49 of the second period. He flipped a bouncing puck past Halak from a bad angle. It was Lewis' fifth goal of the season.

Brown gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with his 13th of the season early in the second period. He converted from in front of the net off a pass from Kopitar. Rob Scuderi began the play with a drive from the point.

Tarasenko tied the score 1-1 by pouncing on his own rebound at 10:55 of the second period. The Blues broke out of an 0-of-12 skid on the power play with the goal.

St. Louis has struggled with consistency after starting the season 6-1.

"It was a tough break. We battled hard," St. Louis' Alexander Steen said. "We've had some pucks that just haven't bounced our way."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought his club showed improvement after an embarrassing 3-0 home-ice loss to Edmonton on Tuesday night.

"We had some good stuff," Hitchcock said. "We just don't have enough yet. But we had a lot of people who poured in a lot tonight."

Halak, who fell to 6-5-1, made 36 saves.

NOTES: Brown had a game-high seven shots on goal. ... Center Jarret Stoll picked up his 100th assist as a member of the Kings on Lewis' goal. ... St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott was sent down to Peoria of the American Hockey League for conditioning. The Blues were the only team to carry three goalies on their roster. ... Brown played in his 301st successive game. Kopitar holds the franchise record of 330. ... St. Louis entered the game allowing a league-low 23.5 shots per game. ... The Kings are on the second stop of a five-game road trip. They return home April 4 to play Minnesota.
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