Muzzin, Pearson pace Kings in rout of Blues

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[January 13, 2017]  LOS ANGELES -- When the Los Angeles Kings are running on all cylinders, they produce performances that remind the opposition of what it was like to face them during their championship seasons. With the St. Louis Blues offering little opposition, the Kings delivered as complete a game as they have all season.

Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson scored two goals each as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Thursday.

Los Angeles (21-17-4) improved to 2-2-0 on the seven-game homestand, winning four out of its last six games. Trevor Lewis also scored a goal and Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik each recorded two assists. Peter Budaj made 21 saves to win his 19th game of the season, his highest total since the 2008-'09 season.

St. Louis (21-16-5) dropped its second straight contest and has lost five of its last seven games.

Paul Stastny scored the lone goal for the Blues and Jake Allen stopped 12 of 15 shots before being pulled in the second period for Carter Hutton.

The Kings offense, which has underperformed in the season's first half, shows signs of revival, scoring 13 goals in their last three games.

"In the first period, we've had trouble scoring goals since Christmas. Getting the lead is the biggest difference," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "We scored the first goal, and our power play and our penalty killing was the difference in the game."

Pearson's 13 goals rank second on the club, and he is on pace for 26 goals, a rate that would eclipse his career high of 15 set last season.


"I think we got to get rid of the inconsistencies, and if we play like this every night, we give ourselves a good chance to win," Pearson said.

The mistake-prone Blues never challenged the Kings throughout and more results like tonight's could jeopardize their playoff chances. Coach Ken Hitchcock was highly critical of Allen's play in net.

"It seems like right now we're at a stage where every mistake goes in our net," said coach Ken Hitchcock. "This is on the athlete. There's times in your young career where you've just said you've had enough."

Allen was pulled for the second consecutive game but his teammates acknowledged their play in front of him was a major factor in the loss.

"We can't not fight for each other when we get down a couple of goals," said Stastny. "We seem to do that lately and it's not acceptable."

The Kings took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Muzzin at 3:18 of the first period. Muzzin took a behind-the-back feed from Drew Doughty and fired a slap shot past Allen.

Los Angeles extended the lead to 2-0 on Lewis' sixth goal of the season 18:12 of the first period. Lewis flipped a soft shot from the left-wing boards that Allen was unable to glove.

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Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (6) acknowledges the crowd after being selected as the first star of the night during a NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Blues 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings built a 4-0 lead on two goals within a space of 51 seconds of the second period. Muzzin registered his second goal of the night and his third in the last four games off a one-timer at 4:43 that chased Allen from the St. Louis net. Pearson then followed with a goal at 5:34 off a feed from Dustin Brown. The assist placed Brown in 10th place in Kings franchise history in that category.

St. Louis cut the margin to 4-1 on Statsny's 10th goal of the season at 7:29 of the middle frame. Alexander Steen threw a pass toward the Los Angeles net that deflected off Statsny's skate and past Budaj. The goal withstood two video reviews, one for a kicking motion and an additional one for goaltender interference.

Pearson restored the Kings' four-goal lead at 5-1 with his second goal of the game and 13th goal of the season at 19:48 of the second period. Pearson shrugged off Robby Fabbri to tip in Carter's feed just in front of Hutton.

NOTES: St. Louis scratched RW Dmitri Jaskin and D Brad Hunt. ... Starting with Thursday, the Blues play 21 of their next 34 games away from St. Louis. The last time the Blues played at least 25 road games from Jan. 1 until the end of the regular season was 2001, when they played 26. ... St. Louis D Alex Pietrangelo appeared in his 500th NHL game. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene, D Tom Gilbert and C Andy Andreoff. ... Since the introduction of three-on-three overtime at the start of the 2015-16 season, the Kings hold a league-best 20-4 record in the extra frame. ... Los Angeles RW Tyler Toffoli missed his 10th consecutive game and remains on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Toffoli has eight goals and 12 assists in 32 games after scoring a career-high 31 goals last season.

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