KINGS (29-15-6) at BLUE JACKETS (24-20-4)
4:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
THERE’S A CANNON ON THE PREMISES: This is the first of two meetings with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, and it’s the Kings’ only visit to Nationwide Arena. The Kings will host Columbus on February 6 at STAPLES Center in their final game before the NHL’s 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games stoppage. The Kings went a blissful 3-0-0 against the Blue Jackets last season.
OH!IO: Columbus is on fire. They’ve won six straight, and are now tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re going to be hungry tonight. After a disappointing start to the season, Columbus has rebounded to what they’ve tirelessly been building to be for years – a contender. Can the Kings use their experience, open up their offense, to settle down an eager, up-and-coming Blue Jackets roster?
THE GAUNTLET: The Kings are amidst a five-game road-swing slated with heavyweights. The Kings are 1-1-1 through three games against St. Louis, Detroit, and Boston, claiming three of a possible six points in the standings. After Columbus tonight, the Kings hitch a flight back to the West Coast for a date with the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. This is ‘trudge-through’ time for the Kings. Can they fight for two points tonight?
THE LAST TIME WE WERE THERE: The Kings last skated at Nationwide Arena on February 5, 2013, claiming a 4-2 win with a three-goal second period outburst. Four different players scored, nine players recorded at least one point. Jonathan Quick made 18 saves for the win.
Slava Voynov tallied the game-winner for the Kings that night, sending home a juicer from the point past Columbus’ goaltender Steve Mason for his second goal of the season, in the Kings eighth game of the season.
Voynov has three goals in 50 games this year. Can he deliver from the point at Nationwide Arena again tonight?
LOOK IN THE MIRROR: "It's one of those things that it doesn't really matter what they're going to bring," Anze Kopitar told LAKingsInsider.com regarding the matchup with Columbus Monday evening in Boston. The Kings can’t worry about the opposition, but only themselves. They’re beginning to ride a slippery slope, winning just four games in their previous 13 contests, going 4-7-2 in that span. "What matters is what we're going to bring and we're going to have to be sharp for sure. They have a good team.”
RED-LIGHT DISTRICT: The Kings are in dire need of a scoring outbreak from a forward other than Jeff Carter, who has scored in three straight games, and has eight points (6G, 2A) in the Kings’ previous eight contests.
On March 11, 2011 at Nationwide Arena, Anze Kopitar recorded his second-career hat trick, fueling the Kings to a 4-2 victory.
Kopitar has chimed in with the assists as of late, recording six helpers in the Kings’ last eight games, but hasn’t scored a goal since his New Year’s Eve tally 10 games back at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
WE’LL GIVE YOU 7 FOR 77: Jeff Carter is a bona fide villain when he sets his skates on Nationwide Arena’s ice. The boo-birds will be out and aloud from the Blue Jackets’ faithful every time he touches the puck tonight. We’ll see our old friend Jack Johnson for the fifth time since he was dealt to the Blue Jackets on February 23, 2012 for Jeff Carter and a first-round draft pick.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 3:30 PT, followed with Bob and Jim on scene at Nationwide Arena for the live play-by-play call at 4:00.
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