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Quick makes the difference in Kings' victory

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- When the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-0 two weeks ago, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said it was not a fair reading of the two teams because the Kings were without goalie Jonathan Quick.

Quick was back when the two teams played again Thursday night -- and showed what a difference that can make in the game's outcome.

Quick stopped 28 of 29 St. Louis shots, allowing only a goal by right wing T.J. Oshie on a penalty shot, as the Kings got revenge with a 4-1 victory.

"He's the best goalie in the world," said teammate and left wing Dwight King. "When he's in net there is more of a confidence. He makes the big save more so than not. You come to expect great play out of him. That's reassuring back there."

Quick, who has helped the Kings eliminate the Blues from the playoffs the last two seasons, knew what kind of game to expect.

"It was a hard-fought win," he said. "Every time we come in the building that's the kind of game we expect. We have developed a little bit of a rivalry over the last couple of years, but at the end of the day it counts as two points. We don't get extra points because it's St. Louis."

Center Trevor Lewis scored his first two goals of the season in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and hand the Blues only their fourth regulation loss in 24 home games this season.

Lewis was credited with the tie-breaking goal when his shot deflected off the skate of Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz past goalie Jaroslav Halak at 2:04 of the third period, just four seconds after the Kings had failed to score on their fifth power-play chance of the game.

The Blues went on their own power play at 4:11 of the period, but instead of coming up with the tying goal, they allowed a shorthanded goal by Lewis when Halak mishandled the puck and was caught out of the net just 10 seconds into the power play.

"A couple of tough breaks," said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "A couple of tough bounces. If we worked a little harder in the right ways we would have got a couple of bounces ourselves. We had some good shots into traffic and opportunities for second chances but we weren't able to bang any home."

That was because of Quick, who will become Shattenkirk's teammate instead of his opponent in a couple of weeks on Team USA in the Olympics.

"I know him personally and he's a great guy and works hard," Shattenkirk said. "You compete now, and when you're together you push it all aside and go from there. We're all competitors in this league. It's good to get those bragging rights and carry them around the next time you see them."

Hitchcock knew it would be a tougher game for the Blues with Quick in goal, but he was disappointed in his team's play.

"Their best players came and played big from the goalie out," he said. "They came up big. It was a big game. It was a game that meant quite a bit. Both teams were full, their goalie was back. Their best players were the best players. That was the difference in the game. They rose to the occasion and we didn't.

"I'm disappointed in our response when we needed to step up. This was a really good challenge for us. Nothing against some of the other teams we have beat, but this was a significant opponent. I wanted to see us step up to another level and we didn't."

NOTES: The Kings recalled RW Linden Vey from Manchester of the AHL on Thursday, but he did not play in the game. ... Also rejoining the Kings was G Martin Jones, who will serve as Jonathan Quick's backup after G Ben Scrivens was traded to Edmonton on Wednesday for a third-round pick in this year's amateur draft. ... C Vladimir Sobotka was back in the St. Louis lineup after missing Tuesday night's game with the flu. ... The game was the first of a five-game trip for the Kings, who play in Detroit on Saturday night. The Blues will host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, with Brian Elliott scheduled to start in goal. He has won his last 13 starts at home dating to last season, a franchise record.
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