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Kings hope for improved goaltending vs. Jackets

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

KINGS (2-3-2) at BLUE JACKETS (3-5-1)

TV: FS-W, FS-O

Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams. They split their four meetings last season.

Big story: While the Blue Jackets have played two more games, no one thought they'd be ahead of the defending champions in the standings two-plus weeks into the season. The Kings rank in the bottom third of the League in goals per game, goals-allowed per game and power play, and they've killed off just 79.4 percent of penalties. This is the second game of a stretch for the Kings of eight of nine on the road.

Team scope:

Kings: Jonathan Quick was an impregnable fortress between the pipes last season, but has been allowing goals early and often this season. He was pulled after giving up two goals on three shots in the Kings' 7-4 loss to the Ducks on Saturday and has an .897 save percentage in seven games.

Yanking Quick was something coach Darryl Sutter didn't want to do.

"We want our goalies to play better. They're not protected species, that's for sure," Sutter told reporters Sunday. Jonathan Bernier replaced Quick and allowed four goals on 21 shots. "Both of them have to play a hell of a lot better. They both want to be starting goalies, right? Our save percentage right now has to be a lot better."

Blue Jackets: After losing six of seven, Columbus broke through with a 4-2 home win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Goalie Steve Mason made 32 saves, Artem Anisimov scored twice, and Jack Johnson played 34:59 after fellow defenseman James Wisniewski left early in the second period after crashing hard into the boards.

Anisimov, who was acquired in the Rick Nash trade this summer, now has four goals this season.

"I'm still learning Artie and his game," coach Todd Richards said. "Maybe as he starts to figure out his teammates and they figure him out, there may be a lot more there."

Who’s hot: Kings captain Dustin Brown has three goals in his past two games. … Anisimov’s four goals lead the team, and three have come in the past five games.

Injury report: The Kings will be without defensemen Matt Greene, who is out for the season with a back injury, and Willie Mitchell (knee). … For the Blue Jackets, defensemen Wisniewski and Nikita Nikitin are out. Right wing Cam Atkinson is out with a high ankle sprain.

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