It took a team just like the Kings to beat the Kings: possession heavy, fast-paced, defensively sound.
The Blues matched the Kings each step of the way in a 4-2 win Monday at , in a contest between the top two teams in the .
It was the little things — a shot off a stick knob, a turnover and a big save by Jake Allen on — that made the difference as the Kings finished a six-game, 11-day trip.
Here’s what we learned:
Kings coach John Stevens in the morning was asked about Pearson not getting the goals but playing well, and Stevens said Pearson and Alex Iafallo were “process” players, meaning that their process is more important than the statistics.
That might sound clichéd, but Pearson has done the right things even if he only had one goal to show for it before his breakaway score Monday. Pearson is looked at as a 20-goal scorer, or more, and he should eventually get there if he continues his play.
He had a game-high six shots.
’s goal — albeit challenged for goalie interference — was the 14th this season by Blues defensemen. That’s a significant change for St. Louis after years of the more protective style of former coach Ken Hitchcock.
That’s also a trend the Kings are looking to achieve — part of what Kings coach John Stevens believes in when he speaks of a five-man attack. Stevens did see similarities between the Kings and Blues in this regard.
“Their biggest focus, I think, is on the team game,” Stevens said of St. Louis. “I think, because of that, they’ve been able to absorb a lot of injuries and still have a lot of success.”
The tendency for teams to pack it in at the end of a grueling trip is prevalent, but the Kings could hang their head high for trading punches with another Western heavyweight.
They paid heavily for their mistakes with two goals allowed in the second period, but still put themselves in position to at least tie late. They earned eight points out of a possible 12, and are basically home for a month.
“I think there’s a lot of resilience in this group,” Stevens said. “They don’t get discouraged easily. Again, I thought the guys played hard tonight. If we continue to show up and play like that as a group, then we’ll get back on the winning track.”