ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Blues have a plus-63 goal differential -- best in the NHL -- heading into Thursday night's home game with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Blues have won eight of their last nine games and are riding a five-game win streak on home ice. They blanked the Kings 5-0 in St. Louis two weeks ago, but the Kings won the first game back on December 2, splitting the season series.
"We expected physical play from them," said Blues captain David Backes, "We're going to expect a hard nose effort from everyone of our guys."
The Kings are going off a rough last 10 games with a record on 3-6-1, while the Blues have won 8 of their last 9 games.
"We need a much better start. We've been out played pretty badly the first half of the first period in both these games [against the Kings]," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, "So we need a better start."
The Kings seemed to have solved their goalie issue, as Jonathan Quick has returned to the net. Quick, who will play on Team USA in Sochi with Backes, has a 1.39 goals against average and a .942 save percentage since his return to the line-up on January 4.
"Glad to have [Quick] as my teammate in a couple of weeks, but tonight we've got to find ways to beat him," Backes said, "He's a great goalie, but we've got great players on this team, too."
In order to beat Quick and the Kings, Backes knows the Blues have to continue to receive goals from the entire line-up.
"We need different guys stepping up all the time. Other times we've had different performances by other guys that's really helped us win games," said Backes, "And that's a tough thing to defend against when you don't know which guys is going to be the guy stepping up that night."
Kings goal scored by Jake Muzzin @ 2:31, lead Blues 1-0
End of 1st period: Kings 1 Blues 0
Blues penalty shot goal scored by TJ Oshie @ 5:55, Kings-Blues tied 1-1
End of 2nd period: Kings 1 Blues 1
Kings goal scored by Dwight King @ 2:04, lead Blues 2-1
Kings shorthanded goal scored by Trevor Lewis @ 4:21, lead blues 3-1