Both St. Louis and Los Angeles hope to draw on past experiences tonight when the teams resume their series at Staples Center (CBC, CBCSports.ca
, 10 p.m. ET).
The Blues have a 2-0 lead in the series, but the Kings had a 19-4-1 record at home in the regular season and beat the Blues in two homes games during last year's playoffs.
"I think the crowd was amazing all season," said defenceman Drew Doughty, explaining the Kings' edge at home. "Ever since we won [Stanley] Cup last year, it seems like there are more and more people coming to the games, instead of just that core group.
"The crowd is louder and louder and we use that energy from the crowd to play our game. I think that's going to be the most important thing tonight, especially in the first couple of shifts. We have to use all that energy to burst out and do what they did to us in Game 1 in St. Louis."
The Blues only played once in LA during this regular season. They built a 4-1 lead in that game before giving up a goal late in the second period to Slava Voynov. The Kings then rallied for four more in the third to win 6-4.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said his team could benefit from that experience, the first part of it anyway.
"We had arguably our best road game of the season for two periods the last time we were in this building, then we gave up that late goal in the second," Hitchcock said. "So I think there's a higher level of confidence that we can play well in this building."
Not all things are equal
Hitchcock indicated his team would have to make some adjustments - literally - to play on the ice surface at Staples Center. It's still a 200-foot game, but the feet seem to be distributed differently.
"It's such a different game in this building, with the smaller ice surface here," Hitchcock said. "We made changes the last game, to play in this building. And hopefully we can continue to make those changes and play 60 minutes.
"It's way smaller in the corners. The corners come up quick. You're around the net and you feel like you're just in the corner. It's just a rounded building. It's the same surface, but the configuration here makes it a different feel, different for the players, different for the coaches.
"So things happen a lot quicker in this building and you just have to be ready for them. Some of the buildings are more rectangular in the rinks, and this is more rounded, and it rounds off quick. Both teams are built for this surface, so it should be a good game."
Regehr likes the karma
Defenceman Robyn Regehr was not with the Kings when they won the Stanley Cup last year.
The blue-liner was acquired during the season from Buffalo. But as the Kings prepared for Game, down 0-2, Regehr likes what he is seeing from his new dressing room.
"We're aware of what we have to do," he said. "We're not panicking right now. We're focused on what we have to do and doing those things. We're focused on one game - tonight."
Regehr played with defenceman Jay Bouwmeester in Calgary before moving to Buffalo. Bouwmeester has become a vital piece for the Blues since being secured in a trade-deadline deal.
"They have a lot more depth on defence and that's helping them so far," Regehr said. "With Jay and [Alex Pietrangelo]...they play a lot of the game, almost half the game sometimes. For us, we can do a better job of making it more difficult on those guys."
Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is keeping a good attitude, despite being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the series.
"I'm OK," Tarasenko said after Saturday's morning skate. "It's a good experience for me. The guys win, and I can't be sad when guys win. I'm so happy we lead 2-0. If the team wins, that's the main [thing]."
Tarasenko added that he's working hard every day on "just what the coaches tell me."
In Game 1, there was a bogus moment in the first period as the Blues buzzed around in the Kings' end. Briefly, the red light went on and the horn sounded, indicating the Blues had scored. In actuality, the puck was in the corner, still in play.
Turns out the "second puck" actually was a wireless microphone being worn by Blues forward T.J. Oshie. The microphone became dislodged from Oshie and somehow got wrapped around Regehr's stick. He shook it loose, but it inadvertently was knocked into the Kings' goal, causing the electronics to go off.
"I kind of stutter-stepped," Oshie said, "but I knew what was going on."
Not everyone did, as play seemed to pause momentarily. "When you here the horn go off, you know that that's usually a bad thing when you're a visiting team," Regehr said.
Technically speaking, it was the first wireless goal in playoffs history.
David Perron-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie