Linemates Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko will try to stay hot for the St. Louis Blues when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Schenn has scored six goals in nine games this season after not scoring his sixth goal last season until his 22nd game.
Tarasenko has three goals and five assists in his last five games playing with Schenn and Jaden Schwartz at even strength. Overall, Tarasenko leads the Blues with 10 points.
“When (Tarasenko) gets hot, he’s tough to handle,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for everything else that he does. His game is more well-rounded now than I think I’ve ever seen.
“That whole line is dangerous. They’re putting up a lot of numbers right now.”
Tarasenko had a goal and two assists Monday night when the Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. They snapped their four-game winless streak (0-2-2) while handing the red-hot Avs their first regulation loss of the season.
But Blues coach Craig Berube was not ready to declare the defending Stanley Cup champions back on track.
“I’m not going to say it’s a turn-the-corner game,” Berube said. “You’ve got to come every night and be prepared to work and compete hard. This league’s tough. Every team that you play, it’s going to be a tough game.
“That’s the approach you have to take. The L.A. Kings are coming to town and you have to prepare and you’ve got to play hard.”
The Kings opened the season by losing five of their first seven games. But they roll into this matchup at Enterprise Center with momentum after beating the Calgary Flames 4-1 at home and the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on the road.
Veteran Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, 33, stopped 49 of 52 shots in those games. Prior to that he struggled while allowing 19 goals in his first three starts.
“We saw what we expect to see from him on a nightly basis,” Kings coach Todd McLellan told reporters after the Jets game. “I was asked a question the other day by somebody in the media group, and the insinuation of the question was ‘You’ve lost confidence in him’ and I think my answer was ‘No, we haven’t.’
“We believe in him, the team believes in him and he’s playing and practicing really well. If his practices had slipped and he wasn’t looking good there, then we’d be worried. But he was outstanding, and it’s showing up in the games now.”
Quick is 9-13-3 with a 2.47 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 25 career regular-season games against the Blues. He also starred against the Blues in Kings’ playoff series victories in 2012 and 2013.
He has shared the netminding job with Jack Campbell this season, who is 2-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.
Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored a goal in each of the last two games. He leads his team with 10 points in nine games. Kopitar didn’t score his 10th point last season until his 21st game.
–Field Level Media