Jonathan Quick held his own in a brilliant goaltending duel with Brian Elliott, posting his franchise record-tying eighth shutout of the season for the Los Angeles Kings, and Jeff Carter scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of a shootout in a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
The Kings took over first place in the Pacific Division with their season-high sixth straight victory. Los Angeles outshot St. Louis 35-32 in regulation. The Kings had 32 shots in the second and third periods after getting outshot 13-3 in the first. Quick matched Rogie Vachon's shutout total from 1976-77.
The Kings are 3-4-1 in 1-0 decisions this season, including a loss to the Blues on Feb. 3 in St. Louis, when Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 Los Angeles shots. The Blues are 4-1 in games decided by a 1-0 score, the other games decided in regulation.
St. Louis and Los Angeles came in 1-2 in the NHL in goals-against average, the Blues having allowed 1.85 goals per game and the Kings 2.06. Elliott came in with a league-best 1.62 goals-against average, and Quick was fourth with a 2.00 GAA.
Elliott made 37 saves for his eighth shutout of the season and 16th of his career.
Quick's shutout was the 23rd of his career.
One night after blowing three one-goal leads in a 4-3 loss at Anaheim with Jaroslav Halak in net, the Blues hunkered down defensively in front of Elliott, blocking 14 shots. They lead the NHL with 101 points, two more than the idle New York Rangers.
St. Louis defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo left the game for good at 13:43 of the second period because of a lower back injury, which occurred when he got tangled up with Kings captain Dustin Brown deep in the Blues' zone and drew an interference penalty before his backward momentum sent him crashing into the right post. Chris Porter served the penalty for Colaiacovo, but the Kings' power play lasted less than a minute before Slava Voynov was sent off for interference.
The Blues, who came in allowing an NHL-low 26.2 shots on net per game, outshot the Kings 12-1 through the first 17 minutes and came within inches of taking a 1-0 lead out of the opening period.
Quick went behind the net to play the puck and gave it to defenseman Matt Greene, who lost possession to Patrik Berglund on the forecheck. His attempted centering pass squirted off Quick's skate as he scrambled back to the crease, then rolled parallel to the goal line before Quick cleared it away with a backhanded swipe less than 2 minutes before intermission.
Los Angeles finished the season series 3-1 against the Blues, who last Saturday reached 100 points for the fifth time in club history and became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It doesn't get any easier for the Kings, whose next two opponents will be last season's Stanley Cup finalists — Boston and Vancouver. The game against the Canucks kicks off a four-game road trip.
Coach Darryl Sutter's teams have earned 1,001 standings points, including 38 extra points from overtime and shootouts losses. The Kings are 22-11-8 since he took over behind the bench.
Notes: T.J. Oshie is the only player on the Blues' roster who has participated in all 12 of their shootouts. He has scored five times — including Thursday, and is 16 for 31 in the tiebreaker during his career. ... Quick beat St. Louis 5-0 Oct. 18 in their home opener. Halak beat the Kings 1-0 on Feb. 3, with Jamie Langrenbrunner scoring the only goal. ... The Blues were 0 for 14 on the power play against the Kings in the season series, one of them in the final 1:53 of overtime after the Kings' Justin Williams was sent off for tripping Berglund. ... St. Louis has allowed fewer than three goals in regulation in 29 of their last 35 games, a 24-9-3 stretch that began with back-to-back shutouts of Colorado and Montreal. ... The Blues and Kings are the only existing clubs remaining from the 1967 expansion that haven't won a Stanley Cup title. Los Angeles got to the finals in 1993, losing to Montreal in five games. St. Louis reached the finals in each of its first three seasons, when all six expansion teams were in one division and the "Original Six" were in the other. ... The Blues are 40-13-9 since coach Ken Hitchcock inherited a 6-7-0 record from Davis Payne on Nov. 6. Hitchcock has a chance to join Bruce Boudreau (Washington 2007-08) and Bill Barber (Philadelphia 2000-01) as the only coaches to win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year after taking over a team once the season was underway. The Adams Trophy was established in 1974. ... Four more wins in the Blues' final seven games will give them at least 50 for the second time in franchise history. They were a league-best 51-19-1 with 11 ties in 1999-00 under Joel Quenneville, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to San Jose. ... St. Louis has allowed just three goals during its opponents' last 72 power plays.