Blue Jackets-Kings Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (1-4) at Los Angeles Kings (3-2-0).
TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EDT.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are having a hard time getting by without star winger Rick Nash.
Averaging just two goals a game with their top offensive threat sidelined, the Blue Jackets close a four-game road trip against the Los Angeles Kings.
On Friday, the Blue Jackets learned the 21-year-old left wing will be out another 12-to-14 days with an injured right ankle.
Team officials had hoped he would return this weekend.
"Unfortunately, that's not the case," team president and general manager Doug MacLean told The Columbus Dispatch in Friday's editions. "He's going to be immobilized for the next week. Then we'll start therapy again. From what the doctors told me, if we follow this procedure he should be 100 percent in two weeks."
Nash could be ready toward the end of the Blue Jackets' six-game homestand Oct. 21-28.
In 2003-04, Nash finished tied for the NHL lead with 41 goals.
Nash hurt his right ankle when he crashed feet-first into the boards on Sept. 14, the second day of training camp. He skipped the exhibition season, came back for the Oct. 5 regular-season opener and played fewer than 9 minutes. He was put on injured reserve a few days later.
Minus Nash, the Blue Jackets have gotten off to a rough start, with their only win coming last Sunday at Chicago.
Columbus is coming off a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Friday.
Jan Hrdina scored late in the second period, and Bryan Berard scored a power-play goal in the third period to get the Blue Jackets even at 2. Columbus was just 1-for-24 with the man advantage before Berard connected.
"It was good we got the power play going, but coming from behind on the road you want to at least steal a point there, it's frustrating," Berard said.
The Kings, meanwhile, had their three-game winning streak snapped with Friday's 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Los Angeles allowed short-handed goals to Kirk Maltby and Jiri Fischer, and was shut out in seven power plays - five in the final 15 minutes.
"I don't think there is anybody in this locker room who didn't leave it all on the ice," Kings center Jeremy Roenick said. "Our effort was tremendous. They got the bounces in the end, but it wasn't for lack of effort."
STANDINGS (through Oct. 14): Blue Jackets - 10 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division. Kings - 14 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Berard, Dan Fritsche and Hrdina, 2 goals; Manny Malhotra, 3 assists; Berard, 4 points; Jody Shelley, 13 PIM. Kings - Roenick, 3 goals; Derek Armstrong, 5 assists and 5 points; Sean Avery, 15 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 14): Blue Jackets - Power play: 12.1 percent (4 for 33), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 89.4 percent (33 for 38), 7th. Kings - Power play: 16.1 percent (5 for 31), 16th. Penalty killing: 87.1 percent (26 for 31), 12th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (1-2-0, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (0-2-0, 0, 3.56). Kings - Jason LaBarbera (2-0-0, 0, 1.50); Mathieu Garon (1-2-0, 0, 2.98);
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 2-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 21, 2004; Kings, 4-3. At Los Angeles, Ian Laperriere had two goals and an assist, and the Kings shrugged off two goals by Nash in the final 6:11 of the game.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-3-0 on the road; Kings - 3-1-0 at home.