Kings Dominate Blues 5-0 In Home Opener
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LOS ANGELES (AP) Simon Gagne had two goals and an assist in his home debut with the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for his 15th shutout in Los Angeles’ 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and captain Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist as the Kings finally returned home from a two-week, two-continent road trip, kicking off a season of high expectations with a blowout win.
Quick was phenomenal in his 99th career victory, making several spectacular saves while remaining unbeaten in regulation this season.
Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 18 shots before getting pulled in the opening minute of the third period for the Blues, who wrapped up a four-game road trip with three losses.
The Kings returned to California on Sunday after a sojourn that started in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 and included stops in Hamburg, Stockholm and Berlin for an exhibition and two regular-season games.
Los Angeles then stayed in Annapolis, Md., for a few days before road games at New Jersey and Philadelphia.
In front of a lively sellout crowd at Staples Center, Los Angeles emphatically ended the Blues’ curious mastery over them.
Struggling St. Louis had won eight of its past nine meetings with the contending Kings, including all four games last season and four straight in Los Angeles.
The Kings are hoping for much bigger changes this season with the additions of new center Mike Richards and Gagne, his former Flyers teammate.
After a few days to shake off a little jet-lag, the Kings dramatically showed off their improved offense after they struggled to score for much of last season.
Richards had an assist after getting a loud pregame ovation, while Gagne showed why he expects to return to high-scoring form after managing just 17 goals in Tampa Bay last season.
Gagne skated in on Halak unchecked midway through the first period, scoring on his own long rebound for his second goal in five games with his new club.
The seven-time 20-goal scorer joined the Kings as a free agent after spending last season with the Lightning and the previous 10 with Philadelphia.
Brown fed Stoll from behind the net for a one-timer midway through the second period. Brown then scored in front during a 5-on-3 advantage 4 1/2 minutes later, putting the Kings up 3-0.
Blues coach Davis Payne pulled Halak after Kopitar scored on a long shot 23 seconds into the third period, and Gagne added his second goal on Brian Elliott after slipping behind the St. Louis defense to collect a slick pass from Kopitar.
NOTES: Drew Doughty, the Kings’ $56 million defenseman, missed the game on injured reserve. Doughty incurred an upper-body injury in last week’s win at Philadelphia, and the 21-year-old star will be out for at least a week. Slava Voynov made his NHL debut in Doughty’s place, playing extensive minutes in a pairing with Willie Mitchell. … Blues LW Andy McDonald is out indefinitely with another concussion. Alexander Steen got playing time in McDonald’s usual spot on a line with David Backes and Jamie Langenbrunner. … Backes put the puck in Quick’s net on a rebound with 14 minutes left, but two officials immediately waved off the goal on a high stick.