Los Angeles (16-14-4) at Columbus (11-24-3)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Columbus, OH
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Jan 16, 2004
  • TV: FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As bad as things have been over the last four weeks for the Los Angeles Kings, it could get a lot worse should they lose to the Western Conference’s worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Kings hope to put an end to a maddening winless streak when they meet the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Though they haven’t won a game in their last 13 (0-3-9-1), the Kings have managed to scrape together points, recording ties in three straight games and five of their last seven.

Decimated by injuries, Los Angeles has not won since a 4-2 victory over Edmonton on Dec. 16. The Kings haven’t gone this long without a victory since they suffered through a 16-game skid during the 1981-82 season.

The Kings are playing without leading scorer Ziggy Palffy, who’s out for the season following shoulder surgery, and forward Martin Straka, who’s out with a sprained knee. Injured forwards Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh haven’t played at all this season.

On Wednesday, Eric Belanger and Scott Barney scored as the Kings skated to a 2-2 tie at Minnesota. The Kings had a 46-23 shot advantage, including a 19-6 edge in the first period.

“If we continue to play as determined as we are,” Kings coach Andy Murray said, “we know we’ll be rewarded.”

Next to last in the NHL with 31 points, the Blue Jackets are winless in three (0-2-1), including Thursday’s 5-3 loss to St. Louis.

Geoff Sanderson, Todd Marchant and Nikolai Zherdev each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who squandered a third-period lead, surrendering three unanswered goals.

“We were controlling the play pretty much in the third period,” Columbus goalie Marc Denis said. “I would have liked to have come up with a big save in a key moment, but it didn’t happen.”

STANDINGS (through Jan. 14): Kings - 46 points, 2nd place (tied), 5 PB, Pacific Division. Blue Jackets - 31 points, 5th place, 29 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Palffy, 16 goals, 25 assists and 41 points; Sean Avery, 180 PIM. Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 25 goals and 30 points; Marchant, 19 assists; Jody Shelley, 115 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 14): Kings - Power play: 14.1 percent (28 for 199), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.9 percent (155 for 194), 28th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.5 percent (29 for 215), 24th. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (137 for 165), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Roman Cechmanek (12-11-5, 5 SO, 2.18 GAA); Cristobal Huet (4-6-5, 2, 2.65). Blue Jackets - Denis (9-20-5, 3, 2.49); Fred Brathwaite (2-7-1, 3.11).

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 10; Tie, 2-2, OT. At Los Angeles, Trent Klatt scored twice with the man-advantage, and Cechmanek made 31 saves for the Kings. Marchant had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 8-7-4-3 on the road; Blue Jackets - 8-10-3-1 at home.

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