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Tyler Toffoli strikes twice and Kings make it four in a row with win over Blues 4-1

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

ST. LOUIS -- Darcy Kuemper got the feeling that this was more than an early-December game when he and his teammates showed up for their rematch with the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings at their own game a month ago here, in a hyped contest between premier Western Conference teams, and that lingered into Friday.

"You could tell when we got to the rink, it was on guys' minds, guys were talking about it," Kuemper said. "You never want to lose to a team twice in a row, and we were really aware of that tonight."

For the second straight night, the Kings limited an imposing team with a potent top line, on the road, with quality goaltending. Their 4-1 win at Scottrade Center avenged their Oct.30 loss, thus the tune "Takin' Care of Business" blared through the speakers in their locker room.

"I think we all expected them to come out like they did last time, so we were ready for it," Tyler Toffoli said.

Toffoli bookended the win with the first and fourth goals and Kuemper made a season-high 39 saves. Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe also scored as the Kings threw their four-game trip into overdrive at 3-0.

 

They needed Kuemper to spell Jonathan Quick, against arguably the hottest line in the NHL in Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. Kuemper's one goal allowed, to Patrik Berglund, came on the power play.

Kuemper is 4-0-2, a sparkling record for a backup goalie in a tricky spot role behind Quick as Quick follows an injury-shortened season.

"It's important (because) I think we've seen in the past with what's happened here before," Kings coach John Stevens said. "You get production from your backup goalie, and that's exactly what we were hoping for. You look at Darcy -- he came here (as a free agent). I think he was excited for the opportunity. That's a big responsibility for a backup."

Toffoli and Kopitar gave him support early. Fewer than two minutes into the game, Toffoli took a backhand pass from Nick Shore, sped down left wing and got Blues goalie Carter Hutton to open up his pads to slip the puck underneath him. Kopitar made it 2-0 when he whacked in a rebound left by Hutton on Alex Iafallo's shot.

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