By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) - So far, the second round has been a carbon copy of the first for the Los Angeles Kings. Two road games, two wins.
Two more, and they will have toppled the top two seeds in the Western Conference.
Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the eighth-seeded Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff in a 5-2 whipping that gave them their fifth straight road win this postseason. Their latest traveling triumph came one week after they eliminated the Presidents' Trophy winner in overtime at Vancouver.
"We've worked hard to put ourselves in this situation," said forward Dustin Brown, who had three assists. "Now, it's not only our opportunity but our responsibility to capitalize on this position.
"Going home 2-nothing is great, but if you don't make it count it's all for nothing."
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Brown and Dustin Penner each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy of the franchise playoff record of five in 1993 against Vancouver.
"Scoring on the first shift was huge for us, we got a big jump-start," Kopitar said. "That's what we've got to take out of that. The second and third periods maybe we were not as strong, but the bottom line is we got the job done."
The last time a team went 5-0 on the road to start the playoffs was in 2004, when the Lightning did it en route to winning the Stanley Cup. Now the Kings are home for the next two, with Game 3 Thursday night.
The Blues are 1-16 in franchise history when facing a 2-0 series deficit, the lone exception in the first round against Minnesota in 1972 when they rallied to win in seven games. It's all uphill now for St. Louis, which was the NHL's best home team with a franchise-record 30 wins and just six regulation losses.
"If we play like we did tonight with not enough guys going it's going to be tough to win wherever we are," captain David Backes said. "If we're playing on the moon, we're not going to win."
Brown assisted on Kopitar's short-handed goal and has a hand in all four of the Kings' short-handed goals in the playoffs, two goals and two assists.
Andy McDonald scored 18 seconds into the second for St. Louis, but Justin Williams quashed thoughts of a comeback when he scored on the Kings' first shot of the period. Then the Kings put it on cruise control, getting outshot 24-4 the rest of the way but with goalie Jonathan Quick surrendering just one goal as physical play increased on both sides.
"We knew they were going to make a big push in the second, which they did," Quick said. "We had some people lean on them and you know it's going to get a little chippy. This time of year, you expect that."
Matt D'Agostini scored in the third for St. Louis, which was 0 for 9 on the power play with a pair of 5-on-3 advantages.
"We're not getting the puck in the zone, we're not setting up the way that we should," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "I think we have the drive but just mistakes, miscues and the chemistry just isn't working at the moment."
Kopitar has three goals and three assists in the playoffs, and has scored in five straight playoff games after leading the Kings in scoring for the fifth straight season with 25 goals and 76 points. Brown added a third assist in the second period and has a team-leading nine points in the postseason.
The Kings have won seven straight on the road in the playoffs counting a pair against San Jose last spring and are in an enviable spot taking the series back to Los Angeles. They opened the first round with a pair of victories at Vancouver, taking that series in five games, but before that held just one 2-0 series lead back in 1968 when they lost in seven in the first round to Minnesota.
The Blues will have to rely on Brian Elliott, with coach Ken Hitchcock ruling out co-No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak for the rest of the series with a lower body injury sustained in Game 2 of the first round.
St. Louis had the NHL's stingiest defense in the regular season, with goalies Elliott and Halak combining for 15 shutouts and each blanking the Kings once. They surrendered more goals in the first period of Game 2 than in any regular-season period.
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