LOS ANGELES (AP) -The Columbus Blue Jackets don't expect to get a ton of goals from Jason Chimera. They do expect solid performances from goaltender Pascal Leclaire on a regular basis.
Both were instrumental in Wednesday night's 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Chimera scored two goals and Leclaire made 33 saves, helping the Blue Jackets extend their winning streak to four games.
"We play a very good defensive game, and teams that play against us are having a real hard time getting scoring chances in the slot," Leclaire said. "Right now we're very sound and very aware of what's going on in our zone.
"We're a confident bunch now and we feel that way against everybody."
Gilbert Brule scored his first goal of the season and Rick Nash scored into an empty net with 18 seconds left, helping end the Kings' four-game winning streak.
The Blue Jackets staked Leclaire to a 3-0 lead before Kyle Calder scored on a rebound of Ladislav Nagy's short backhander during a power play at 9:15 of the second period, snapping Columbus' club-record streak of 18 successful penalty kills.
Rookie Jared Boll was serving a hooking penalty when Calder scored. It was just the fourth power-play goal allowed by the Blue Jackets this season, after allowing only three in their first 52 short-handed situations. They also killed off a two-man advantage the Kings had for a minute and 39 seconds after staggered penalties to Manny Malhotra and Adam Foote in the second period.
"They got a great goaltending performance tonight, and we know what that's all about because Jason's played some games like that," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We had six chances on the 5-on-3, but their goaltender stood tall and made some big saves for them.
"We look at this as an opportunity we didn't pass with flying colors by any stretch of the imagination, but we worked, so I'm not disappointed in the way we played."
Chimera opened the scoring at 16:29 of the first, getting a return pass from Malhotra and beating Jason LaBarbera high to the glove side with a snap shot from the base of the right circle.
"Everyone gets in the act when you're winning," said Chimera, who had a career-high 17 goals two seasons ago. "I want to contribute a lot more offensively and help the team win every night by being a more consistent offensive player."
Brule made it 2-0 at 3:31 of the second on a rebound of Sergei Fedorov's 50-foot slap shot, and Chimera scored again about 4 minutes later on another rebound after LaBarbera thwarted Nash.
"Guys are doing a real good job going to the net and we get those ugly goals, which is what we need to do," Leclaire said. "Rick can't be the only guy scoring, and tonight the other guys jumped in."
The two-goal game was Chimera's fourth in the NHL and first since Feb. 8, 2006 - also against the Kings.
Notes: The only other time the Blue Jackets played on Halloween, they beat Los Angeles 4-1 at Columbus with Ron Tugnutt making 45 saves. ... Kings C Michael Cammalleri does not have any penalty minutes through the Kings' first 13 games. ... ... The Blue Jackets were 0-for-5 on the power play after connecting at least once with the man advantage in six straight games. LaBarbera finished with 32 saves. ... Leclaire's only other start against the Kings was on Oct. 27, 2006 at Columbus, when he beat then 2-0 with 38 saves for his first NHL shutout. ... A victory Thursday night at Anaheim would match Columbus' longest winning streak of last season. ... The Blue Jackets were winless in their previous seven games against the Kings in Los Angeles, including a tie. ... Los Angeles is 0-6 when trailing after two periods. ... Leclaire, the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft, has allowed just two goals in his last 191 minutes and 9 seconds of ice time.
POST GAME QUOTES
KINGS HEAD COACH MARC CRAWFORD:
(Re: game recap) “It wasn’t [Rick] Nash, [David] Vyborny, [Sergei] Fedorov or any of their highly skilled players that made the difference tonight. Their grinding line of [Manny] Malhotra, [Jason] Chimera and [Dan] Fritsche was better than the lines we had playing against them and that simply made the difference in the game.”
KINGS FORWARD ANZE KOPITAR:
(Re: game recap) “They caught us on our heels when they scored the first goal. We just couldn’t get the puck in the net. I had a couple of chances where I should have put the puck in, and then it would have been a different game. We should just forget about this one and move on.”
BLUE JACKETS HEAD COACH KEN HITCHCOCK:
(Re: play of Pascal Leclaire) “I think this was one of his best performances. When you’re playing a team that’s playing as well as they are, especially playing on the road, you’re going to need your goalie to be your best player, and he was.”
BLUE JACKETS GOALIE PASCAL LECLAIRE:
(Re: game recap) “I feel comfortable out there, the puck is rolling for me too. They hit one or two posts today. We played a very good defensive game. Right now, we’re very sound, very aware of what is going on in our zone. We’re playing well, we don’t panic. It seems we’re in control the whole time. Whatever happens we stick together, and that helps.”
Post Game Quotes Compiled By: Andre Delsol and Michael Becker