|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|LAK||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (17-31-8-4) at Los Angeles Kings (22-17-14-7).
TIME: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
The Columbus Blue Jackets may be one of the worst teams in the NHL, but to the Los Angeles Kings, they are hardly cellar-dwellers.
The Blue Jackets will look to continue their surprising dominance of the Kings when the teams meet at Staples Center.
Ahead of just Chicago and Pittsburgh in the overall standings, the Blue Jackets have won only three of 28 road games this season (3-19-4-2). They have lost four of their last five overall (1-3-0-1), including a 3-2 defeat in Phoenix on Friday.
But whenever the Kings come up on the schedule, the Blue Jackets turn into a different team. Columbus is unbeaten in its last eight against Los Angeles (7-0-1), including a 2-0-1 mark this season.
The Blue Jackets kept the hex intact in their last meeting as David Vyborny scored 1:58 into overtime, giving Columbus a 3-2 home victory over Los Angeles on Feb. 11.
Despite Friday's loss, the Blue Jackets are a respectable 8-10-4-1 under interim coach Gerard Gallant.
Pascal Leclaire may get another start Saturday following his impressive NHL debut in a losing effort Friday. The 21-year-old goaltender stopped 28 shots.
"It's frustrating when any team comes back on you," Leclaire said. "I know, though, that I can play in that league. Now I just have to make the big save."
The Kings have followed up a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3) with a five-game slide (0-2-1-2), including a 4-3 loss to Dallas on Wednesday.
"We played well, but made some mental errors," Luc Robitaille said. "It's like a playoff game and you can't afford to make mistakes like that."
Robitaille, Derek Armstrong and Sean Avery scored for the Kings, who fell into ninth place in the Western Conference playoff race, one point behind St. Louis and two back of Nashville.
Kings coach Andy Murray said his team cannot overcome all of its injuries unless it sticks to the game plan on a nightly basis.
"This game was not about our work ethic or our determination," Murray said. "We were not as smart as we needed to be."
Robitaille, who turned 38 Tuesday, has 1,357 points - 12 fewer than John Bucyk for the most by a left winger. Robitaille already leads the position in goals with 646.
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 46 points, 4th place, 34 PB, Central Division. Kings - 65 points, 3rd place, 9 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 31 goals and 42 points; Todd Marchant and Vyborny, 21 assists; Jody Shelley, 166 PIM. Kings - Alexander Frolov, 19 goals; Ziggy Palffy and Jozef Stumpel, 25 assists; Palffy, 41 points; Sean Avery, 216 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 19): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.4 percent (43 for 299), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (193 for 232), 21st. Kings - Power play: 14.2 percent (37 for 261), 24th (tied). Penalty killing: 79.9 percent (214 for 268), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (15-25-7, 3 SO, 2.47 GAA); Fred Brathwaite (2-9-1, 0, 3.41); Leclaire (0-1-0, 3.00). Kings - Roman Cechmanek (18-16-6, 5, 2.43); Cristobal Huet (4-7-8, 2, 2.61).
SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 2-0-1.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 3-19-4-2 on the road; Kings - 10-9-8-1 at home.
|Feb 21 '04||CBJ 3 at LAK 4||I. Laperriere|
|Feb 11 '04||LAK 2 at CBJ 3 - OT||D. Vyborny|
|Jan 16 '04||LAK 2 at CBJ 3 - OT||R. Nash|
|Jan 10 '04||CBJ 2 at LAK 2 - OT||T. Klatt|