Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Kings

Monday, 01.20.2014 / 8:00 PM
BlueJackets.com Staff

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: It's been kind of like Groundhog Day through these first two periods. The Blue Jackets weren't off to a good start early in the second period, looked like they were coming unglued a bit, but got it back together late in the period and scored twice in the final 1:45 to lead 4-2 after 40 minutes. Umberger has two tonight, and the second one was a harmless-looking toss to the front (from the left wing boards) that Jones couldn't handle. Then it was Artem Anisimov taking off on a 2-on-2 that become a 2-on-1 with Nathan Horton driving to the net. Horton went top shelf over Jones in the dying seconds to make it 4-2 Columbus.

FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: It wasn't the flashiest of starts for the Blue Jackets, who took two early penalties (three in total) and yielded an early goal to Los Angeles. They rebounded well after the poor open, scoring twice later in the period to take a 2-1 lead headed to the break. The first was a nicely orchestrated power play goal between James Wisniewski and RJ Umberger, and it was Umberger in front with a nice re-direct past Martin Jones. In the final minute, it was Ryan Johansen taking a sweet stretch pass from Ryan Murray and burying his 19th for a 2-1 lead. Shots are 12-11 favoring Columbus after the first, and most of those attempts came in a much-improved second half of the period.

UPDATE (11:15 AM): No surprise here, but Sergei Bobrovsky starts tonight against the Kings.

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Todd Richards confirmed that Tyutin returns tonight. Dalton Prout will be a healthy scratch on defense.

UPDATE (10:20 AM): Jack Skille is also taking part in the morning skate and is doing so without a red "no contact" jersey. As of this morning, he's still on injured reserve.

UPDATE (10:15 AM): With Tyutin returning, here's the expected Jackets lineup tonight...

Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson

Jenner - Anisimov - Horton

Foligno - Johansen - Umberger

MacKenzie - Letestu - Tropp

Tyutin - Johnson

Murray - Wisniewski

Nikitin - Savard

Bobrovsky

UPDATE (10:10 AM): Fedor Tyutin is back on the ice for the morning skate today and he'll be in the lineup tonight against the Kings.

MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets are back in Columbus and are set to face the Los Angeles Kings in the first of three straight games at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets are slated for a 10 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide Arena, and we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Kings, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

ROSTER REPORT

The Blue Jackets are expecting Fedor Tyutin back in their lineup for Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Kings, and that's good news (obviously) for a team that had been getting into a groove with its six defensemen.

Richards said Monday that he saw no reason why Tyutin wouldn't be cleared to play - especially after he took part in full practice - and if that's the case, look for Dalton Prout to come out of the lineup.

Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in goal for the Blue Jackets.

GAME PREVIEW

Thanks to realignment, it's been a while since the Blue Jackets and Kings have met up on actual ice (and not social media). We do love the @LAKings Twitter account, though. We're good friends. Just not tonight.

During their feverish push for a playoff spot last spring, the Blue Jackets stubbed their toe in Los Angeles in a gritty, grindy and somewhat ugly 2-1 loss to the Kings at STAPLES Center. That game, in the midst of their six-game road trip, actually turned out to be the only blemish on the trip. The Blue Jackets went 5-1-0 on the roadie and it was a big reason why they stayed in the playoff hunt up until the final buzzer of the regular season.

With the Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference, the four match-ups per season against the Kings has been reduced to two. Tonight's game at Nationwide Arena marks the first of two and it's an awfully important one for the Blue Jackets, who are riding a six-game winning streak (tied for the best streak in franchise history) that has vaulted them into a wild card spot and back into the conversation in the Metropolitan Division.

Columbus is benefitting from a balanced, four-line attack that spreads out minutes and makes match-ups a difficult decision for opposing coaches. The Blue Jackets have three lines that are contributing offensively and that's not to exclude the MacKenzie-Letestu-Tropp line, a unit that has checked extremely well and played a straight-lines game that gets under the opposition's skin.

Los Angeles played yesterday and dropped a 3-2 decision against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden, a game that saw the Kings get their share of chances in the third period but could not find a third goal. But you always know what to expect from the Kings: a structurally sound, physical team that is patient, talented and disciplined. They happen to have a pretty good goaltender in Jonathan Quick, as well.

UP NEXT

VS. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

THURSDAY, 7 P.M.

NATIONWIDE ARENA

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