OC Register Adrian Kempe, Kings rout Blues


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
Jul 28, 2004
LOS ANGELES –– In 2012, then St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said to his assistant after a late-season meeting with the Kings, “Watch out for L.A., they’re coming.”

In those playoffs, the Kings swept the Blues and on Saturday they made their own proclamation, and much earlier in the campaign, with a 5-1 beatdown that left St. Louis black and blue at Crypto.com Arena.

Quinton Byfield, Blake Lizotte, Adrian Kempe, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kevin Fiala had the lamps behind each goal flashing like strobe lights early. Kempe added an assist and all that offense seemed superfluous on a night where Cam Talbot had his shutout spoiled with just 3:53 to play.

Jordan Binnington suffered through all 60 minutes in goal, seeing only Jake Neighbours score a goal with the game’s outcome already decided.

This season, the Kings have yet to lose a game in which they have scored four or more goals and they had crossed the threshold by the first intermission Saturday, tallying in a delightful variety of ways to boot.

The Kings blew the scoring wide open with a pair of goals in 19 seconds beginning just 2:25 into the match. There existed stark contrast between the two tallies: one was scored on the power play by the Kings’ most physically imposing forward from their top trio, and the other was achieved at even strength by their most diminutive attacker, who skates on their fourth line.

First, Byfield owned the netfront, gaining position and then showing sticktoitiveness as he tracked the puck through smacks and whacks in the crease, eventually popping it past Binnington. In all, it took three swipes to get Byfield his third goal of the season.

Then, Lizotte scored an even more emblematic goal five-on-five. First, he forced a Justin Faulk turnover, breaking Faulk’s stick in the process and then absorbing a hit from the Blues defender, who outweighed him by 40 pounds. As the puck pinballed around low in the zone, Carl Grundstrom’s hit freed it anew and Lizotte collected the loose change to flick home his fourth goal of the year.

Kempe would increase their advantage to 3-0 when he pounced on Torey Krug at the right point and zoomed ahead for a squeaky clean breakaway. He stickhandled into a rising backhand for his eighth goal of the year and his first shorthanded.

After the Kings had already scored a man up, a man down and all even, they got another five-on-five goal when Dubois and Arthur Kaliyev exchanged positions and the puck alike to create Dubois’s goal from the slot. Dubois, who had a hard collision with the goalpost against Florida Thursday, looked none the worse for wear as he deposited his fifth goal as a King.

That final marker had been keyed by a big check by Vladislav Gavrikov on Sammy Blais in the neutral zone, lending a physical facet to the Kings’ dominance. Talbot left his imprint as well, stopping a late-period downward deflection by any means necessary. Though the Kings did not generate a shot-on-goal edge in the game, the quality of their scoring chances was such that they were more than tripling up the Blues’ total at one point in the middle frame.

The Kings capped the period with a fifth goal as the “we want ice cream” chants rained down during the final minute of the period, as Fiala stretched the Kings’ lead and gave the fans a frozen treat for the road. Fiala showed preternatural body control as, in one fluid motion, he extended fully to reach a lead pass into the zone and loaded up a searing snapper that gave Binnington little opportunity at a save.

Fiala has a seven-game points streak against St. Louis, over which he has compiled four goals and seven assists. He has produced at least one point in every game against the Blues over the past three seasons, and in 2021 he had two multipoint efforts (five points) in the span of three days before his most recent scoreless outing against St. Louis.

The third period was largely academic, though the Kings were not able to hang on for Talbot’s second shutout in black and silver because of a goal by Neighbours.

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