St. Louis Blues: 3 Players Who Must Step Up Against Los Angeles Kings in Game 3

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IMay 2, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 30: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues takes a shot on goal against Willie Mitchell #33 of the Los Angeles Kings in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center  on April 30, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Kings beat the Blues 5-2.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

After dominating the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the St. Louis Blues find themselves in an 0-2 hole to the Los Angeles Kings.

Now, they head out to LA to try to stop the bleeding in Game 3 on Thursday.

A lot must change for Ken Hitchcock’s crew if the Blues are going to turn things around.

Let’s take a look at three players who are going to have to step up their efforts for the Blues to avoid losing their third straight game.

Brian Elliott

It’s hard to pin the Game 2 loss on Elliott, as both he and the entire defense played terribly.

But, five goals is still way too many to allow in one playoff game. He’s going to have to increase his focus and pick up his teammates after their mistakes.

With Jaroslav Halak slowly getting healthier, this might be Elliott’s last chance to save his starting goalkeeper position.

If he can hold the Kings to one or two goals on Thursday, there’s no reason the Blues shouldn’t win Game 3.

Alex Pietrangelo 

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 8: Jaroslav Halak #41 and Alex Pietrangelo #27 both of the St. Louis Blues celebrate a victory over the Anaheim Ducks at the Scottrade Center  on March 8, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Blues beat the Ducks 3-1.  (Photo by Dilip V
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Pietrangelo wasn’t at all to blame for the Game 2 loss, since he was out with an injury.

Clearly though, this Blues team needs him more than they need any other defenseman.

Therefore, Pietrangelo is going to have to come back on Thursday and have a monster game.

He’s going to need to be sharp on defense and also spark some offensive chances if the Blues are going to be more competitive in Game 3.  

David Backes

Backes is the captain of this team, and with that title comes greater responsibility.

It’ll be his job in Game 3 to make sure his teammates are ready to play. If he can’t get his teammates more involved in the first period on Thursday, it’ll reflect poorly on him.

He has three points already this series, assisting on two of the Blues’ three goals and scoring the other one, but he needs to motivate his teammates to play as hard as he’s playing.

Great leaders make their teammates better, too. He needs to keep tapping away and wearing down the Kings’ defense so his teammates can get better shots.