ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues certainly face a daunting task in their playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings.
Facing elimination, the Blues must stay solvent with a road win against the reigning champions in Game 6 on Friday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET). The Kings have lost only four of 26 games at Staples Center this season. For their part, the Blues have not won a game there in over two seasons (0-6-1).
All that said, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock likes his team's chances.
"There's lot of positives [from Wednesday] -- effort, discipline, structure ... whatever you want ... there's lots of positives," he said. "Overtime is a crapshoot.
"I know to win the [Stanley] Cup, you have to win most of your overtime games. But for me, the way we played, that's something we have to build on."
Truth be told, the Blues have deserved better. They outplayed the Kings at Staples Center in Game 3, but failed to score on 30 shots and lost 1-0. In Game 5, they outshot the Kings 36-25 and had a number of chances they failed to convert. That's been the story of the series for the Blues, who have nine goals in five games.
Each game has been decided by one goal, two games have been decided in OT and three goals have been scored in the last minute of a game.
"[The positives] are all we have," Hitchcock said. "That's all you can ask at this time of year.
"You need an all-in mentality and we had that. This felt very similar to Game 1.
"We had an all-in and dominated the game and we're going to need to come with an all-in mentality for Game 6. This is not over.
"Somebody's got to win another hockey game. If we can raise our spirits again and go out there the way we did, I like our chances."
Welcome back Carter
The Blues kept a lid Jeff Carter in the early stages of this Western Conference quarter-final. They held the high-scoring, 6-foot-4 forward without a goal or point through three games. But Carter has been poison to St. Louis in the last two meetings.
He scored L.A.'s first goal on Wednesday night, knocking home a rebound of Drew Doughty's slapshot and giving the Kings a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the second period. The Blues bounced back to tie it 1-1 on Alexander Steen's goal.
But after a questionable tripping penalty on Barret Jackman with six seconds remaining in the second, Carter struck again. The Kings carried over the power-play time and Carter converted on passes from Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, one-timing a shot into the open side of the goal before Blues netminder Brian Elliott could react.
"We talked about going out in the first two minutes, on fresh ice, and getting a power-play goal," Carter said. "To be honest with you, we weren't very sharp.
"We didn't really get set up. But we just, kind of, got a little rush going and [Richards] made a good play to Kopie and Kopie snapped it over to me and it was a gift -- I just hit the net."
The goal was the third in two games for Carter, a key component to the Kings' Stanley Cup-winning drive last season. When Slava Voynov scored in OT to give the Kings a 3-2 win, Carter's night was complete.
Now the Kings have a chance to finish off the Blues in Los Angeles, where the Kings have lost only four times in regulation all season.
"We're comfortable at home," Carter said. "We've been playing some good hockey there.
"Being back in front of our fans is a huge boost for us. We'll try to go back and do it again."
You never know
Kopitar acknowledged it was difficult for the Kings to put the Blues' game-tying goal in Game 5 behind them. Alex Pietrangelo scored with just 45 seconds remaining to tie the game.
But the Kings have been there, done that.
"It's one of those things, you're so close to getting it and getting on the flight to go home," said Kopitar, who assisted on Voynov's OT winner.
"But you have to regroup and we have enough experience in this locker room. We know what it takes to go do that.
"I thought we came out pretty strong and we were throwing pucks at the net. The most important thing is we finished it off."
The teams exchanged 71 hits on Wednesday -- 41 by St. Louis. Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka led all skaters with eight hits.
Doughty played over 30 minutes on defence for the Kings, while Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester both played more than 25 minutes for the Blues.
The Kings had lost eight games in succession on the road, including last six of the regular season.
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