Blue Jackets Host Kings, Look for Third Straight Win
Fresh off a pair of road victories, the Columbus Blue Jackets try to maintain the momentum Wednesday and continue their home success against the struggling Los Angeles Kings.
Columbus (26-33-7) has taken six of its last home seven meetings with Los Angeles (22-34-10), with the lone loss an 8-2 defeat on Nov. 13, 2005.
Rick Nash, who leads the Blue Jackets with 21 goals, has two goals and five points in the last four home games against the Kings. The left wing also enters this contest with a hot hand, after scoring twice and adding an assist in Columbus' 4-3 win at Phoenix on Saturday.
"Right now, he's playing extremely well," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He was in a strong position to score and should have scored four."
The victory was the second in as many nights for the Blue Jackets, who defeated Dallas 3-2 in a shootout on Friday. They are looking to win three in a row for the first time since a four-game run Jan. 19-30.
"We played well and stuck to our system," said Nash, who also scored twice in a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Feb. 27 that opened the three-game road trip. "That's two huge points on this road trip."
A win Wednesday would also snap Columbus' three-game home losing streak. The Blue Jackets are just 1-4-1 in their last six games at Nationwide Arena.
Meanwhile, the Kings are looking to rebound from a listless 3-0 loss at Chicago on Tuesday, which started when Rene Bourque scored past Sean Burke 22 seconds into the opening period on the first shot of the game.
Following the defeat - which opened a four-game road trip - Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford could be heard yelling at his team behind the closed dressing room door.
"When you allow any team in the National Hockey League not to work for their goals, then you're really facing an uphill battle," Crawford said. "In a game tonight between two teams at the bottom of the league battling for position, I was disappointed in how our battle level was."
The Kings went 0-for-6 with the man advantage Tuesday, snapping a run of nine straight games with at least one power-play goal.
Los Angeles, which owns a league-worst 9-20-2 road record, visits Detroit on Friday before closing out the four-game swing Sunday at Dallas.
The Kings hope to have several key players back at some point during the trip, including two of their top defensemen - Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky. Blake, who has 28 points, was a late scratch on Tuesday due to a groin pull and Visnovsky - the team's highest scoring blue-liner with 51 points - could miss his third consecutive game Wednesday with a lower-body injury.
- Associated Press