Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 27 @ Columbus, December 8, 2015, 4pm PST
They could not have played any better on their recent four-game homestand as they won all four, but the Los Angeles Kings are hoping to take that success on the road with them as they begin a six-game tour of Eastern North America. Their first stop will be in Columbus on Tuesday night against the 11-16-1 Blue Jackets.
This is the second and final meeting between the Kings and Jackets this season with Columbus taking the first meeting by a 3-2 score back on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles. That afternoon, the score was closer than the game itself as the silver-and-black had one of their flatter efforts of the season. They did keep pace with the Jackets as the game went on but Columbus was able to hold on with goals from Cam Atkinson, Gregory Campbell and Brandon Dubinsky with the latter finishing with two points. Sergei Bobrovsky was even solid in goal that afternoon, stopping 31 shots en route to Columbus’s victory.
The Jackets have certainly made some strides since their dreadful 0-8-0 start and while they are tied for last in the Eastern Conference, they are nonetheless a team not to be taken lightly.
While none of them recorded a point last month at STAPLES Center, the trio of Scott Hartnell, Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner are primed to light the lamp against the silver-and-black as the three lead all Blue Jackets in scoring thus far. Hartnell and Johansen are tied with 19 points while Jenner leads the way in goals with 11.
But the Kings have played significantly better hockey since their last meeting with Columbus and will be nothing short of a formidable test for the Jackets.
Milan Lucic is on fire right now having scored three goals in his past two outings while linemates Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter continue to complement the new King very well, especially the latter. Drew Doughty also enters Tuesday night on a hot streak as he has registered points in his last three.
Jonathan Quick is coming off one of his best performances of the year. On Sunday, he turned away 25 shots to preserve his team’s win over Tampa Bay. The Kings’ defense, and their penalty-killing unit, has been even better, shutting down the opposition over the course of the past week. As for the PK unit, they killed off all six of Tampa’s power-play chances on Sunday.
Last month, a total of 20 penalties were called. We’ll see if both clubs deliver similar intensity this time around. Either way, it should be quite the battle.
Enjoy the game!