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Game #31 Preview: Blue Jackets Throw Down With Kings

Thursday, December 13, 2018 – 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Jewels From The Crown

Columbus Blue Jackets (16-12-2, 34 points, 2nd Metro, 7th East)

vs.

Los Angeles Kings (11-19-2, 24 points, 8th Pacific, 15th West)

Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings will come into Thursday’s matchup looking to end two-game losing streaks. As the Kings fell to the Sabres Tuesday in overtime, 4-3, the Blue Jackets fell yet again on home ice against the Canucks, 3-2.

For the Blue Jackets, it was another in a string of poor performance at Nationwide Arena this season, and for Columbus, in the middle of a season-long six-game homestand, their inability to finish games continues to haunt them. Their home record stands at just 7-7-1, the seven regulation home losses the most amongst teams currently holding down a playoff spot.

As for tonight’s matchup, the Jackets have a date with a team in L.A., in the middle of a four-game road trip, coming into town with the worst record in the NHL. Yet these Kings beat Columbus, 4-1, Nov. 3 at Staples Center. Zach Werenski scored the lone goal for Columbus as L.A. got goals from Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar.

Player to Watch

The Blue Jackets are looking to right the ship at home, and keep close to the first place Capitals in the Metropolitan. I’m looking at the captain, Nick Foligno, to lead this team on the ice, whether scoring a big goal, getting into a fight, or whatever needs to be done.

We hear the daily sound bites from Foligno, especially after a loss, and we know it’s ultimately up to the players to get the job done. Coaches coach, and while they’re not absolved of any shortcomings relating to the Jackets’ woes, I believe it’s the players that need to prove they can show some sort of consistency and step up. Leaders lead, and the one wearing the “C” has the spotlight tonight.

Who better than the captain to lead with his own play?

(Those who follow on Twitter know how I’ve felt about Mr. Foligno lately.)

In 18 career games against the Kings, Foligno has nine points (two goals, seven assists).

Jackets Notes

Josh Anderson left Tuesday’s game against Vancouver, and did not return, after an awkward head first landing into the Canucks goal post late during the second period. … Oliver Bjorkstrand took his spot in the lineup. … Anderson is considered day-to-day (upper-body) and did not practice Wednesday, as Zac Dalpe was recalled from Cleveland. … Dalpe leads the Monsters in goals (12) and points (25). … He earned his first point as a Blue Jacket, an assist, in his lone NHL game this season back in November against the Panthers. … Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal.

The Other Bench

This season has been less-than-ideal for the Kings, as they have fallen within the depths of the worst record in the NHL. Off-season acquisition, 35-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk, has put up 14 points this season (five goals, nine assists) but is a -13.

After Los Angeles’ win over the Blue Jackets Nov. 3, the Kings relieved head coach John Stevens of his job, replacing him with Willie Desjardins.

The main blow for the Kings this season has been the injury bug, losing both their starting and backup goalies. Jonathan Quick missed a month with a lower-body injury before returning to action Nov. 29, while backup Jack Campbell has missed time due to knee surgery. That allowed for Peter Budaj to get little playing time, before being sent back down to the AHL upon Quick’s return, and Cal Petersen has also made his NHL debut earlier this season.

Injuries to the rest of the team include Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder) with no time table for a return, Carl Hagelin, acquired from Pittsburgh last month, out with an MCL sprain for four-to-six weeks, Kovalchuk (ankle) out up to four weeks, and Trevor Lewis (foot) is out four-to-five weeks.

Kyle Clifford recently joined the injured list (upper body), Drew Doughty left Tuesday’s game (upper body) against Vancouver and is considered questionable, Alec Martinez has not played in the teams’ last two games and was placed on injured reserve (upper body), and Dion Phaneuf also excited Tuesday (upper body).

Doughty played in his franchise-record 360th consecutive game Tuesday. The last time he missed action during the regular season was 2013-14 when he missed the final four games. His injury is not considered serious. Rookie defenseman Daniel Brickley was recalled from the Ontario Reign.

Season Series

11/3/2018 CBJ 1 @ LAK 4
12/13/2018 LAK @ CBJ

Stats

Los Angeles Columbus
2.19 (31) GPG 3.40 (7)
3.06 (19) GAPG 3.37 (26)
14.1% (29) PP% 15.3% (25)
74.5% (28) PK% 78.6% (16)
49.72% (18) EV Corsi % 49.23% (20)
99.6 (22) EV PDO 100.1 (t-16)
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, 10 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 19
Drew Doughty, 15 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 25
Anze Kopitar, 20 P Leader Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson, 30
Kyle Clifford, 31 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 38
4-9-1 Home / Road 7-7-1
4-5-1 Last 10 4-6-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Oliver Bjorkstand
Lukas Sedlak Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Markus Hannikainen Brandon Dubinsky Riley Nash
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Zach Werenski Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Los Angeles Kings

Alex Iafallo Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown
Brandon Leipsic Jeff Carter Matt Luff
Nikita Scherbak Adrian Kempe Tyler Toffoli
Austin Wagner Nate Thompson Mike Amadio
Derek Forbort Sean Walker
Jake Muzzin Oscar Fantenberg
Daniel Brickley Paul Ladue
Jonathan Quick
Cal Petersen



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