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Kings beat Blue Jackets, complete perfect homestand

by Gene Warnick

LOS ANGELES -- "That '70s Line" helped the Los Angeles Kings complete a record-setting homestand.

The trio of Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter combined for 10 points, leading the defending Stanley Cup champions to a 5-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday at Staples Center to cap the first 6-0-0 homestand in franchise history.

Carter and Toffoli each had a goal and three assists. Pearson scored two goals and leads the Kings (6-1-1), and all NHL rookies, with seven. The three have combined for 33 points and a plus-32 rating in the past seven games.

Not that coach Darryl Sutter was satisfied with what he saw Sunday.

"This wasn't our best game of the homestand," Sutter said. "Carter was the best player on the ice and Tanner managed to chip a couple in."

Dwight King, who like Toffoli, Pearson and Carter wears a jersey number in the 70s, had the other goal and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for the Kings, who begin a road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It was important to get the points because we're going on a tough trip," Sutter said. "I give our team credit for basically playing shorthanded through all six games."

The Kings again were without injured forwards Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis.

Tim Erixon and Mark Letestu scored for Columbus (4-4-0), which went 1-3-0 on a four-game trip.

Toffoli snapped a 1-1 tie late in the second period and King scored just over two minutes later. Letestu scored in the final minute of the period to cut the margin to 3-2, but Pearson put the game away with two goals in the third period.

The Blue Jackets also lost forward Nick Foligno to a scary hit at 8:26 of the third period. Foligno and Carter were racing for the puck as they approached the Kings' blue line, and the crown of Foligno's helmet crashed into linesman Shane Heyer's hip as the official jumped onto the boards in front of the Los Angeles bench in an effort to avoid the play.

Foligno was wheeled off the ice and didn't return. However, the Blue Jackets said he was alert, has full movement in his limbs and was talking with doctors. He was scheduled to have precautionary X-rays at Staples Center.

"Really scary," said Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray, who made his 2014-15 debut after offseason knee surgery. "We know he's a tough guy and not one to ever do that so we know it's serious when he does stay down. We are all worried about him and praying for the best."

Coach Todd Richards indicated that the injury might not be as bad as it first appeared.

"My understanding is Nick is alert and will be traveling back with us," he said of Foligno, who is off to a strong start with nine points in eight games.

King said the Kings just tried to keep it simple after play resumed following Foligno's injury, which led to the final two goals.

"It's kind of like the start of the game where you get pucks in, you don't try to force too many passes," he said. "I think it might have hurt them a little more than it hurt us, obviously. That's a big player for their club. That was the difference in the game."

It was the second awkward injury in as many games for the Blue Jackets. Cam Atkinson was cut by Ryan Kesler's skate blade in Friday's 4-1 loss at Anaheim. Atkinson suffered a three-inch cut that ran from his right eyelid and down his cheek and didn't play Sunday.

Columbus is also without forwards Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Boone Jenner (broken hand) and Nathan Horton (back).

Richards admitted it would be good to go home.

"But we've got to take something from this trip and not just sweep it under the rug," he said. "We were competing [for two periods] with the defending Stanley Cup champions. All that goes out the window with [a loss of] focus."

Kings center Anze Kopitar left the ice late in the second period with what was termed an upper-body injury and did not return. Sutter would say only that "he's all right" when asked about Kopitar's availability for the Kings' next game.

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