Kings At Blues Preview: Jaroslav Halak Returns To Host Tired Kings

Dilip Vishwanat

Tonight's a duel between two struggling teams -- which is great news, because that means one of them has to win. The downside is, no one knows who it'll be.

The Stanley Cup hangover is apparently a very real thing, even with a few extra months off. The Los Angeles Kings were expected to utilize the three extra months off that they had to rest up and rebound just as strong as they were last season in the playoffs, but it appears that the on-again, off-again Kings team of the regular season has appeared instead. They're just 3-5-2 on the year. They thought they were going to at least be 3-5-3 on Sunday until the Detroit Red Wings smashed those hopes with 4.5 seconds left on the clock in the 3rd period. Such is the Kings' season.

They're dead last in the league in goals for, but the Predators were challenging for that not too long ago until they came to St. Louis. The Blues gave them a hand in that department by allowing six goals against and increasing the Preds' total on the year at that time by a third. That happening tonight may be doubtful, though, as Jaroslav Halak has been activated off of the injured reserve. Brian Elliott needs the rest, after going 0-3-1 in the last four games. He's gotten nil support from the defense, but the offense seems to be alive, so maybe Halak'll be ok.

God willing. Sometimes when a team gets on a slide, every game is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Blues should be mentally strong enough to not let that continue tonight. There's an opponent in the building that's more beaten down than frustrated and angry, and St. Louis is more than capable of exploiting that.

Chris Stewart, with a goal and two assists on Saturday, seemed willing and able to get the offense started. If the Blues can get on the power play and utilize their major strength, the Kings might have issues. Of course, if the Blues could score at even strength, that would also be helpful.

February's sucked so far for the Blues. It's time to get off of the schneid and start playing January-caliber hockey again. It's still early in the season, but every point matters. Get two.

Let's go Blues.

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