Jeff Carter recorded a pair of goals and Jonathan Bernier delivered a solid first start of the season as the Los Angeles Kings dealt the struggling St. Louis Blues a 4-1 loss at the Scottrade Center.
Bernier turned aside 21-of-22 shots in place of a resting Jonathan Quick to help the defending Stanley Cup champions halt a two-game skid and extend St. Louis' losing streak to five straight contests (0-4-1). The Kings also received a power-play goal from Davis Drewiske and an even-strength marker from Jarret Stoll in the triumph.
"I was really happy with our performance today," said Bernier. "We really battled hard out there today and got rewarded for our efforts."
Alex Steen accounted for the lone goal for the Blues, who failed to avenge last season's four-game sweep at the hands of Los Angeles in the Western Conference semifinals. Brian Elliott, subbing for a still-ailing Jaroslav Halak, managed just 19 saves in the setback.
"All our scoring chances against good teams come on power plays," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We don't get any chances 5-on-5 and you have to really dig in 5-on-5 against good teams to get scoring opportunities, and we don't do that."
St. Louis had activated Halak, who missed the club's previous three losses with a groin strain, from injured reserve prior to the game. However, he aggravated the injury during pregame warmups and was held out.
Carter made his presence felt early on, collecting the puck from teammate Slava Voynov on a 2-on-1 rush following a St. Louis turnover and ripping it past Elliott 8:31 into the contest for the lone goal of the first period.
He struck again early in the second, taking a pass from Keaton Ellerby and putting a nifty move on Blues defenseman Ian Cole before sneaking a backhand through Elliott's pads at the 3:23 mark for a 2-0 Los Angeles lead.
The Kings capitalized on a boarding call on St. Louis' Roman Polak later in the frame. Just 20 seconds after the penalty, Drewiske beat Elliott glove-side with a wrister off a Dustin Brown centering feed 6:38 prior to the second intermission to give the visitors a three-goal cushion.
St. Louis finally got on the board near the end of the session, when Steen fired a rocket from the right point over Bernier's shoulder with 43 seconds left while enjoying a power play.
The Blues had two more power-play chances in the third, but couldn't convert either opportunity as Bernier stopped all 10 shots he faced. The only goal of the stanza was produced by Stoll, who one-timed a delivery from Voynov into the upper left corner of the net with 3:36 elapsed.
Drewiske's goal was only his fourth in 117 career NHL games and first-ever on the power play ... The Blues entered the game atop the NHL in power-play percentage (33.3) and registered a goal with the man advantage for the sixth straight contest, though the team finished just 1-of-5 in such situations ... St. Louis' Andy McDonald earned his 300th career assist on Steen's goal ... Elliott has gone 0-3-1 with a 5.05 goals-against average and a .791 save percentage over the four games that Halak has missed.