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Jones to start for Kings against Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Los Angeles Kings will turn to rookie goalie Martin Jones to stop the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Jonathan Quick, named to the United States team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month, had started eight straight games (4-2-2) after missing 24 games with a groin strain. He had 20 saves in a 3-2 loss at the Boston Bruins on Monday and is expected to be rested for back-to-back games against the Anaheim Ducks this week.

Jones filled in admirably in Quick's absence, winning his first eight decisions to tie an NHL record. He is 8-3-0 with a .950 save percentage.

"[Jones] is a guy probably nobody even knew about and he gets an opportunity to play and is running with it and doing well," Kings center Colin Fraser said. "Sometimes that's how you make the NHL."

The Kings (29-15-6) sent Jones to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League on Jan. 5 after Quick returned from injury but he was recalled 10 days later when L.A. traded backup goalie Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Jones last played for the Kings on Jan. 2 when he was pulled at 8:19 of the second period after allowing two goals on 14 shots during a 5-0 loss against the St. Louis Blues.

"He's proven he can play at this level," Fraser said. "We don't approach it any differently when he's in goal. We're a defense-first hockey team. [Jones] has made some big stops for us too. It's not like we were lights-out defensively all the time for him."

Jones will face a hot team. Columbus (24-20-4) has won six straight to tie the franchise record set between March 24 and April 3, 2006. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards hopes to break the mark by exploiting a tired team that is 1-1-1 on a five-game trip that ends Thursday at the Ducks before the Kings play Anaheim again Saturday at Dodger Stadium in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

"What should help us is that this is their fourth game in six nights plus travel," Richards said. "What we need to do is take advantage of that."

Still, the Blue Jackets know the Kings are not going to get away from their identity.

"They have a lot of big forwards," Columbus left wing Mark Letestu said. "They play physical, hard on the forecheck and are a very structured team.

"A heavy game for them will be won along the boards and in front of the net. It's up to us to be just as heavy."

Columbus will make one change from the 4-3 shootout win Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, with defenseman Fedor Tyutin returning from missing two games because of the flu. He'll replace Dalton Prout.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:


Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Jeff Carter

Matt Frattin - Mike Richards - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez

Robyn Regehr - Slava Voynov

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey

Injured: Matt Greene (concussion symptoms)


Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - RJ Umberger

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner - Artem Anisimov - Nathan Horton

Mark Letestu - Derek MacKenzie - Corey Tropp

Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson

Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski

Nikita Nikitin - David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Injured: Marian Gaborik (collarbone), Jared Boll (foot), Jack Skille (upper body), Blake Comeau (knee)

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