BLUE JACKETS (6-3-0) at KINGS (7-4-0)
Season series --
The Kings and Jackets are meeting for the second time in eight days. Columbus beat Los Angeles 4-1 at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 17. Columbus has won the last three meetings and is 17-14-1-1 all-time against the Kings -- one of the few teams against which the Jackets have a winning record.
Big story --
Both teams are coming into this one off big road wins Saturday. Columbus got a late goal by Fedor Tyutin
to beat the Ducks 6-4 at Anaheim, while Jarrett Stoll and Dustin Brown
each scored twice in the Kings' 5-3 win at Phoenix.
Fatigue could be a factor -- both teams are playing for the third time in four nights, and the Blue Jackets are finishing a four-games-in-six-days trip that saw them lose at Calgary and Edmonton before the win at Anaheim.
Blue Jackets --
The Jackets were glad to leave Anaheim with a victory, but coach Ken Hitchcock can't be too happy about his team's inability to hang on to a 4-2 lead. That comes on the heels of back-to-back games in Alberta in which Columbus allowed six goals to the Flames and Oilers.
This time, though, the Jackets regrouped and found a way to win.
"That's the difference about our team this year," captain Rick Nash
said. "A couple years ago we'd get down a goal on the road and fold our cards, but now we don't let it discourage us -- we stick with it. It's a true tale tonight -- the way we played."
Los Angeles has won three in a row and seven of its first 11 games despite playing only four times at the Staples Center. Coach Terry Murray has been thrilled with the play of his first line, with Anze Kopitar
centering for Ryan Smyth (15 points) and Justin Williams
. Kopitar's three assists on Saturday moved him into first place in the scoring race with 19 points.
Who's hot --
Kopitar followed a three-goal game on Thursday with three assists on Saturday; he's 4-5-9 in his last five games. Smyth has a four-game points streak. … Nash has four goals in his last four games, including the two he scored Saturday in Anaheim, and center Antoine Vermette
is 1-5-6 in his last four games.
Injury report --
Williams has been out with a lower-body injury. Columbus is still without defenseman Jan Hejda and forward Fredrik Modin, who are expected to miss at least another month.
Stat pack --
Nash has 11 shorthanded goals since the start of the 2007-08 season, second in the NHL to Philadelphia's Mike Richards
(12). He has both of Columbus' shorties this season and owns six of the last seven scored by the Blue Jackets, including the only 3-on-5 goal scored in the League this season.
Puck drop --
A win would make this a .500 road trip for the Blue Jackets, who's already made two Western trips. But the Jackets don't have a great history in back-to-back games. Prior to this weekend, they were 63-60-15 all-time in the first game of back-to-backs -- and 43-77-18 in the second game.
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com