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Kings at Blue Jackets preview

Laich to make Los Angeles debut after Carter injury; Columbus eyes best start in its history

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (5-0-1) at BLUE JACKETS (5-2-0)

7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Los Angeles Kings face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday in their first game without center Jeff Carter, who had surgery on his left leg Thursday and will be out indefinitely after being cut by a skate on Wednesday. 

Carter was injured in the last minute of the first period on a hit from Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry during the Kings' 5-1 win. Carter has three assists in six games this season.

Los Angeles, which has won three straight, is the only NHL team without a regulation loss and has its best start in history.

With a win or overtime loss, the Kings would have points in seven consecutive games to open the season, which would tie their record set in 1995-96, when they started 4-0-3.

The Blue Jackets can establish their best start, bettering the 5-3-0 records in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

 

Players to watch

Center Brooks Laich, 34, is expected to make his Kings debut after signing a one-year $650,000 contract on Thursday. He has 331 points (134 goals, 197 assists) in 764 NHL games during 12 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 4-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.

 

They said it

"I'm not going to come in and try and replace [Jeff Carter]. I'll try to do the things that brought me here today. I'm a skating centerman. I like to make plays, shoot the puck and go to the net. Little things matter. I want to help my linemates and defensemen play a five-man game." -- Kings center Brooks Laich

"He drags guys into the fight with him with the way he plays. He's a reckless player, and that's a compliment that he can play that bang-crash style, but also has the skill to go along with it." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno on the possible return from injury of forward Boone Jenner

 

Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Nick Shore -- Tyler Toffoli

Michael Cammalleri -- Adrian Kempe -- Trevor Lewis

Andy Andreoff -- Brooks Laich -- Justin Auger

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Oscar Fantenberg

Christian Folin -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Nic Dowd, Kurtis MacDermid

Injured: Kyle Clifford (upper body), Marian Gaborik (knee), Jeff Carter (leg)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Alexander Wennberg -- Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner -- Nick Foligno -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Josh Anderson

Sonny Milano -- Lukas Sedlak -- Matt Calvert

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Zac Dalpe

Injured: Gabriel Carlsson (upper body)

 

Status report

Jenner is expected to make his season debut after being out with a back injury. He had 34 points (18 goals, 16 assists) last season.

 

Stat pack

The Kings, who start a six-game trip, will play outside of California for the first time this season. Their lone road game was a 4-1 win at the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 7. … Wennberg is one assist shy of 100 in the NHL. He has 125 points (26 goals, 99 assists) in 224 games.

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