This is the second of three meetings between Los Angeles and Columbus this season. On February 5, the Kings defeated the Blue Jackets 4-2 at Nationwide Arena. After tonight, the two teams will meet at Staples Center on Thursday, April 18.
Lots more after the jump…
Since the teams last played, Los Angeles is 1-2-0 and Columbus is 1-1-1. In the Blue Jackets’ most recent game, they defeated San Jose 6-2 in Columbus on Monday behind points from 14 different skaters, including a two-point, first star performance from Brandon Dubinsky, who scored 43 seconds into the game. In the game against the Kings, Dubinsky was fined $10,000 but not suspended for his boarding major on defenseman Rob Scuderi.
This marks the teams’ first game at Staples Center since a 3-2 Los Angeles win on February 1, the infamous “clock-gate” game in which Drew Doughty scored the game-winner immediately before the buzzer. Former King Jack Johnson will make his first appearance at Staples Center since the February 23, 2012 trade that brought Jeff Carter to Los Angeles.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to draw his second consecutive start for the Kings. He has appeared in two games against the Blue Jackets in his career. On March 8, 2012 he stopped 33 of 36 shots in a 3-1 loss to Columbus; his win occurred on March 11, 2011, when he stopped 32 of 34 shots. Both games took place at Nationwide Arena. On the season, Bernier is 1-1-0 with a 2.65 goals against average and .884 save percentage.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start for the Blue Jackets. His one career start against Los Angeles came as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers on February 13, 2011, when Drew Doughty’s second period goal stood up as the game’s only tally in a 1-0 Kings win at the Wells Fargo Center. Bobrovsky is winless in his last three starts and is 2-3-2 with a 2.98 GAA and .896 Sv% on the season.
James Wisniewski, who had appeared in two games after suffering a concussion from a violent collision with the end boards on February 2, remains in Ohio for the birth of his first child, per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. Adrian Aucoin, who has been held out of games since January 29 due to a lower-body injury, is expected to return and slot alongside Johnson.
Friday’s game is the first of a six-game road trip for the Blue Jackets, which equals the team’s longest trip of the season.
Rankings and Statistics:
Goals/Game: LAK – 24 / 2.27; CBJ – t-25 / 2.23
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 20 / 2.82; CBJ – 23 / 3.08
Power Play: LAK – 27 / 11.8%; CBJ – 23 / 15.2%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 20 / 79.6%; CBJ – 9 / 83.7%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-9 / 30.1; CBJ – 21 / 28.5
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.9; CBJ – 20 / 29.4
Faceoffs: LAK – t-22 / 48.8%; CBJ – 18 / 49.1%
Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Simon Gagne – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Jeff Carter – Justin Williams
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jordan Nolan
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin – Davis Drewiske
Notes: Jonathan Bernier will draw back to back starts for the first time since January 15 and 17, 2011. Dustin Penner had an assist and drew 11:41 of ice time in Monday’s 4-1 win in St. Louis. Jake Muzzin will draw back into the lineup for the first time since last Thursday’s 3-0 loss in Nashville. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Projected Lines – Columbus
Vinny Prospal – Artem Anisimov – Mark Letestu
R.J. Umberger – Derick Brassard – Derek Dorsett
Matt Calvert – Brandon Dubinsky – Nick Foligno
Colton Gillies – Derek MacKenzie – Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – Adrian Aucoin
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Nikitin
Tim Erixon – Cody Goloubef
Notes: The only potential change to this lineup would be the addition of John Moore, who has been out since February 2 with a lower body injury but is nearing a return. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Moore will be scratched. Cam Atkinson remains out with a high ankle spain. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.