KINGS (22-18-12) at BLUE JACKETS (23-25-3)
4:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
COLUMBUS: Tonight marks the second and final meeting with Columbus this season; the Kings beat the Blue Jackets 5-2 on October 26 at STAPLES Center. The Blue Jackets have won their previous two games, outscoring opponents 11-2; they’re coming off of a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. The Kings are finishing their five-game road trip tonight, they’ve posted a 1-3-0 record thus far; they’re coming off of a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday afternoon.
LINEUP NOTES: Jon Rosen, who was on hand at the Kings’ morning skate at Nationwide Arena, reported that there aren’t expected to be any changes to the forward groupings from Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay. Alec Martinez traveled back to Los Angeles on Sunday; he is suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Brayden McNabb is expected to draw into the lineup tonight due to Martinez’s absence, though tonight’s defensive pairings are still unknown.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
LEWIS – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Coming into the night, the Kings find themselves five points behind the Calgary Flames for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Kings have one game in hand on the Flames. With 56 points, the Kings also have company in the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, who also have 56 points. A win tonight would be crucial for the Kings before they return to Los Angeles for a three-game home stand at STAPLES Center.
MCELHINNEY: The Kings will see Curtis McElhinney tonight in Columbus. The Blue Jackets’ back-up goaltender has gone 3-2-0 with a .937 SV% since Sergei Bobrovsky suffered a lower-body injury on January 21. In three career starts against the Kings, all as a member of the Anaheim Ducks, McElhinney is 1-1-1. McElhinney has gotten plenty of offensive support as of late, the Blue Jackets scoring a combined 11 goals in their previous two games.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Columbus’ Nationwide Arena on January 21 of last season, they fell to the Blue Jackets 5-3. The Kings surrendered goals in the finals seconds of both the first and second periods. Dwight King, Jeff Carter, and Robyn Regehr scored for the Kings, and Martin Jones made 29 saves in the loss. The Kings are 11-10-3 all-time as a franchise when playing at Nationwide Arena.
KING OF COLUMBUS
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE pregame coverage at 3:30PM on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from Nationwide Arena for puck drop at 4:00PM PT.