Los Angeles goes for a fourth consecutive victory and tries to hand Columbus a fourth straight loss as these teams meet at Staples Center.
The Kings were dealt their seventh loss in a row on Feb. 8 as they fell to the Blue Jackets for the first time in three meetings this season, 7-4.
That victory saw Columbus match a team record for goals in a game, but it has totaled just three goals in three games since, losing them all.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has followed that defeat by scoring 14 goals during a three-game win streak.
Despite losing top forwards Pavol Demitra and Alexander Frolov to injury during the Olympics, the Kings returned from the break to beat Minnesota 3-2 on Thursday on Lubomir Visnovsky’s goal with 2:36 to play.
“If we get them back, that’s great. But until then, everyone else is going to pick it up,” Kings center Craig Conroy said. “We can’t cry about it now. We’ve got only 22 games left and we’ve got to go out there and get it done.”
Demitra suffered a broken nose and residual bleeding behind his right eye while competing for Slovakia. Frolov separated his right shoulder while playing for Kazakhstan.
Neither player is expected to return until next week at the earliest.
“When you lose two guys like Pavol Demitra and Alexander Frolov, you need guys to step up,” Murray said. “Luc Robitaille and Jeremy Roenick are going to be Hall of Famers because they’ve been able to step up in their careers. This might be one of the greater challenges for them—to step up and deliver at the end of the year when we need it so badly.”
The Blue Jackets need someone to step up as they try to break a scoring drought. They’ve failed to score in 115 minutes, 31 seconds since Nikolai Zherdev’s first-period goal in a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Feb. 11.
In its first game after the Olympic break, Columbus was outshot 40-24 and failed to take advantage of six power-play opportunities in a 1-0 loss to Colorado on Thursday.
The Blue Jackets wasted a strong performance from goalie Pascal Leclaire, who made 39 saves.
“He kept us in the game,” Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. “With his play and had we made plays when we had to, we win the game.”