Columbus (20-18-3) at Los Angeles (22-17-1)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Sat Jan 8, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Columbus Blue Jackets’ play on the road has been awful lately. The same could be said of the Los Angeles Kings’ recent performances at Staples Center.

One of the teams will get a much-needed victory on Saturday night when they meet in Los Angeles.

Since opening 8-1-0 on the road, the Blue Jackets (20-18-3) are 1-8-2 away from home following Friday’s 6-0 loss in Anaheim. It was the second time Columbus has been held without a goal this season and the club’s most lopsided loss since a 6-0 defeat at Los Angeles on March 8.

“Even when we were down 2-0, we were getting a lot of chances and a lot of opportunities. But we couldn’t get one past (Jonas) Hiller, and it got ugly after that,” said coach Scott Arniel, whose team has been outscored 14-3 while losing the first three on its four-game trip. “When things are going bad, that is usually what happens.”

The Blue Jackets will complete their two-game swing through California with their second visit to Staples Center this season.

Led by two third-period goals from captain Rick Nash(notes), the Blue Jackets snapped the Kings’ 8-0 start at home with a 5-3 victory Nov. 17.

While Columbus has struggled to post victories away from Nationwide Arena since Thanksgiving, it will face a Kings team that is one loss shy of its first five-game home losing streak since an 0-3-2 stretch from Oct. 20-Nov. 4, 2008.

Despite leading 2-0 behind second-period goals from rookie Kyle Clifford(notes) and Jarret Stoll(notes), Los Angeles (22-17-1) fell to 0-4-0 on its season-high eight-game homestand Thursday with a 5-2 loss to Nashville.

The Kings have dropped five straight overall and are on the verge of their first six-game losing streak since an 0-8-0 skid from Dec. 12-26, 2007.

“We’re not working or competing hard enough, and it’s not easy to win games in this league consistently if you’re not doing that,” captain Dustin Brown(notes) said.

Since outscoring opponents 16-3 during a four-game winning streak that preceded this skid, Los Angeles has yielded 23 goals in the last five contests. The Kings have killed just 11 of 19 penalties during that stretch.

“We seem to sabotage ourselves a little bit with our play and taking some penalties,” coach Terry Murray said. “It’s been going on for the last two or three games now. We’re not able to get the penalty killing going the way we had it going, and it’s costing us games now.”

The Kings could also benefit from better goaltending. After backup Jonathan Bernier(notes) gave up five goals Thursday, Jonathan Quick(notes) will be in net against the Blue Jackets, looking to snap a personal three-start losing streak.

Quick has two shutouts in eight career starts against Columbus, but he allowed four goals on 25 shots in the Blue Jackets’ last visit to Staples Center.

Columbus’ Steve Mason(notes) turned away 33 shots in that matchup, but he could be on the bench Saturday after getting pulled in the third period versus Anaheim.

Arniel may give the nod to former King Mathieu Garon(notes), but he was even worse against the Ducks, allowing two goals on five shots.

Whoever starts in goal will have to face Kings leading scorer Anze Kopitar(notes), who has eight goals and eight assists in his last 12 contests versus Columbus.

Kopitar and Brown are expected to be joined on the first line by left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky(notes), who has been sidelined since Dec. 26 with an ankle injury.

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Saturday, Jan 8