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Blue Jackets seeking fourth-line production vs. Kings

by Craig Merz / NHL.com

KINGS (17-8-1) at BLUE JACKETS (11-16-1)

TV: FS-W, FS-O

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Blue Jackets' fourth line is a bit hard to describe, given that one of their top scorers is the right wing.

Brandon Saad, third on the Blue Jackets with nine goals, will play alongside center Michael Chaput and Gregory Campbell against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.

Normally, the fourth line is known as an energy or forechecking, line but Chaput said they have more to offer.

"We're a power forward line. All three guys can play both sides of the ice," he said. "We're the fourth line on the chart but we have three good players who can skate, make plays. We've been doing a good job so far. We've been crashing bodies and putting pucks deep so it adds to our game."

Saad, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract on July 3 after coming to Columbus in a trade a week earlier with the Chicago Blackhawks, has three assists in his past nine games. He had 23 goals last season.

That gives the Blue Jackets hope there will be goals coming from the fourth line.

"It's not the exact same responsibility and expectations as a top-six line, but there's so much depth on every team," Campbell said. "That's why the importance of a fourth line that can do multiple things has come to light.

"It might not come as easy to us to score, with the exception of Brandon, but it's still something we're going to try to do."

The Blue Jackets' fourth line has totaled 12 goals; Campbell has two and Chaput one in two games since being called up from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League.

"They have all four lines that can play," Kings defenseman Jamie McBain.

Los Angeles' fourth line of Kyle Clifford, Jordan Weal and Jordan Nolan has not scored.

The Kings start a six-game trip and a stretch of 10 of 11 on the road.

"I really don't put a lot of emphasis on the whole road stuff," coach Darryl Sutter said. "The biggest difference you have on the road obviously is the one big advantage the [home] team has is last change. On the last trip we're on that's where it gets highlighted.

"We had guys on the ice for a lot of goals. Those are circumstances where they've got to do the job while they're out there. Otherwise you can't play them."

The Kings have won four straight and this is the third consecutive game the Blue Jackets have played an opponent with a four-game winning streak. They lost a shootout to the Florida Panthers on Friday and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:

KINGS

Tanner PearsonAnze KopitarMarian Gaborik

Milan LucicJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Andy AndreoffNick ShoreDustin Brown

Kyle CliffordJordan WealJordan Nolan

Brayden McNabbDrew Doughty

Jake MuzzinAlec Martinez

Christian EhrhoffJamie McBain

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Dwight King (foot), Matt Greene (shoulder), Trevor Lewis (upper body)

Scratched: Derek Forbort

BLUE JACKETS

Ryan Johansen - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner - William Karlsson - Matt Calvert

Gregory Campbell - Michael Chaput - Brandon Saad

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Andrew Bodnarchuk

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Cody Goloubef (jaw), Rene Bourque (upper body), Jared Boll (foot), Markus Hannikainen (shoulder)

Scratched: Kevin Connauton

Status report: Lewis will miss his third straight game. … Connauton will sit a second game in a row.

Who's hot: Foligno has three goals in three games and seven points (three goals, four assists) in eight games after getting a goal and six assists in the first 20. … The Kings killed all eight shorthanded situations the past two games. … Carter is on a six-game point streak (1-5-6). Kopitar has points in four straight (1-4-5) and nine points in his past eight. Lucic has six points in his past six games (4-2). … Bobrovsky has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of 11 games, including six straight.

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