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GAME BLOG: Blue Jackets vs. Kings

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

9:35 P.M. -- That's a wrap tonight from Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets led in the first, rallied to tie it in the second, but fall 4-2 to Los Angeles. Look for more post-game coverage on, coming later tonight.

8:45 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Kings needed a much better second period and they delievered. Los Angeles tied the game just 32 seconds into the period on an Anze Kopitar backhander, and took the lead less than four minutes later thanks to a power play goal from Jeff Carter. The Blue Jackets came back to tie the game later in the period, and it was Derick Brassard snapping a quick backhand shot by Jonathan Quick off a great slap-pass from Tim Erixon. The controversial moment of the second period (and quite possibly the game) came when Brandon Dubinsky hit Rob Scuderi behind the LA net, earning himself a boarding major and game misconduct. Mike Richards jumped in to fight Dubinsky and got two minor penalties of his own, and there was no damage done on the brief Kings power play. Slava Voynov gave the Kings their second lead of the game on a rocket slap shot from the right wing boards, and Justin WIlliams was on the spot to provide a last-second screen of Steve Mason. Los Angeles out-shot the Blue Jackets by a 17-2 margin in the second period and carried the play, and now it's up to Columbus to counter that in the third.

7:45 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Does the phrase "start on time" sound familiar? I feel like I've typed it over and over, but tonight, the Blue Jackets clocked in and went to work right on time. They dictated in the opening 20 minutes and hold a 1-0 lead over Los Angeles that they had to work for. The Kings are a tempo team that has a lot of skill in its top six, and the Blue Jackets did a great job of establishing their aggressive forecheck with all four lines. The fourth line, one of their strongest so far this season, got things going on a great play in the defensive zone by Mark Letestu. He started the breakout and hit a streaking Fedor Tyutin up the left side, and Tyutin hit Derek MacKenzie with a centering feed that carromed into the net at 13:02. One thing the Blue Jackets have done with their checking is separating pucks from the puck carrier; they're "leaning" on guys below the goal line and getting a good cycle game going, and it's helped them create some chances. They'll need more of that and two more solid periods from Steve Mason to keep this thing going in the right direction.

1:40 P.M. -- Here's the expected Blue Jackets lineup for tonight's game:

Brassard - Dubinsky - Foligno
Umberger - Anisimov - Dorsett
Calvert - Johansen - Prospal
MacKenzie - Letestu - Boll

Johnson - Erixon
Tyutin - Goloubef
Holden - Savard


1:20 P.M. -- Even more new to the Blue Jackets this year is Cody Goloubef, who was called up yesterday due to John Moore's lower body injury. Catch his comments from this morning on Jackets TV:

1:00 P.M. -- Recently-recalled Nick Holden will make his season debut for the Blue Jackets this evening, his first NHL game in over two years. He spoke with our Bob McElligott after the morning skate, on Jackets TV:

12:30 P.M. -- Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards confirmed that Matt Calvert will return to the lineup tonight. As a result, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has been reassigned to the Springfield Falcons. We'll have a further update later today.

10:30 A.M. -- The morning skate is wrapping up, but not before the CBJ lens captured a couple of moments from practice:

10:20 A.M. -- The power play point combinations have been mixed up a little bit. Fedor Tyutin and Derick Brassard are running the first unit, and Jack Johnson mans the second unit with Mark Letestu. Depending on the status of Nikitin for tonight's game, that could change.

10:10 A.M. -- Cody Goloubef has arrived and is skating today, and has been rotating shifts during rushes alongside Fedor Tyutin.

10:00 A.M. -- The morning skate is under way here at Nationwide Arena. Looks like Steve Mason will make his second consecutive start between the pipes after a solid effort Saturday night against the Red Wings. Nikita Nikitin is  taking line rushes with the full group, and with him being eligible to come off injured reserve as of today, it's possible he's ready to go. We'll wait to get official word from Todd Richards after practice.

9:30 A.M. -- Good morning and happy game day, everyone! The Blue Jackets, fresh off an exciting 4-2 win here at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night, are back on home ice tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. These two clubs were locked in some emotional games last year, especially after Jack Johnson joined the Blue Jackets in a trade with the Kings.

Johnson scored the game winner in his first game against his former team, and you can check out the video at the top of the page.

The Kings, as you'll recall, caught fire in the second half of the season under coach Darryl Sutter and went on to win the Stanley Cup. They return largely the same team that won the Cup, but due to some injuries on defense and starting the year without Anze Kopitar, the Kings have struggled to a 2-3-2 mark out of the gate.

On the other hand, Columbus played one of its best games of the season against the Red Wings, establishing a tenacious forecheck and making Detroit pay for its mistakes. Artem Anisimov scored a pair of goals that you can see in the video highlights below:

We'll have all the latest news, updates and player interviews from today's morning skate which begins in about 25 minutes. Be sure to check back here often (or just keep refreshing the page, which is way easier) to get the latest from Nationwide Arena.

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