ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings dialed it back to their Stanley Cup run last spring, and put another beating on the St. Louis Blues.
Jeff Carter scored twice for the first time since the Game 6 Cup clincher over New Jersey and the Kings didn't need playoff star Jonathan Quick in goal to shut down St. Louis in a 4-1 victory on Monday night.
"That's something we've been talking about, getting a lead and playing with a lead," Carter said. "We haven't been doing that much this year.
"It's not easy coming in here and playing these guys. It's a step in the right direction.
Brian Elliott has been in net the last four games of the Blues' five-game losing streak, a skid in which they've allowed 26 goals. Elliott made 19 saves in a surprise start a day after Jaroslav Halak was activated from injured reserve, led the team onto the ice for the pregame skate and was listed on the game sheet.
(There's) "no going into the pregame skate knowing what you're going to be facing, so it's a little tough," Elliott said. "But like I've said, when you just get thrown into the fire sometimes it's better. You're not thinking about it, you just go in and play."
Halak tweaked a groin strain and Elliott found out he was starting about five minutes before the opening faceoff.
"I think everybody was in a little bit of shock," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He had three really good days of practice and then, I don't know, somewhere in the warm-up he pulled it again."
Hitchcock said he'd know the extent of the injury in practice Tuesday.
Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier was solid with 21 saves in just his second game of the season and first start for the Kings. Los Angeles outscored the Blues 15-6 while eliminating them in five games in the second round of the playoffs last spring en route to the Stanley Cup finals.
"I've been trying to keep my game at a high level," Bernier said. "Just trying to stay focused, that's how it's been all year."
Carter said Bernier "has been itching to get in there."
"He made the saves when he had to and didn't give up any rebounds," Carter added. "He saw all the pucks, he did a great job."
Davis Drewiske made it 3-0 at 13:22 of the second period with his first goal of the season on a power play. Alex Steen scored on a power play in the final minute of the second for St. Louis with Andy McDonald earning his 300th career assist.