Kings-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Los Angeles Kings (16-14-10-4) at Columbus Blue Jackets (11-24-6-3).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
As bad as things have been over the last four weeks for the Los Angeles
Kings, it could get a lot worse should they lose to the Western Conference's
worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Kings hope to put an end to a maddening winless streak when they meet
the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Though they haven't won a game in their last 13 (0-3-9-1), the Kings have
managed to scrape together points, recording ties in three straight games and
five of their last seven.
Decimated by injuries, Los Angeles has not won since a 4-2 victory over
Edmonton on Dec. 16. The Kings haven't gone this long without a victory since
they suffered through a 16-game skid during the 1981-82 season.
The Kings are playing without leading scorer Ziggy Palffy, who's out for the
season following shoulder surgery, and forward Martin Straka, who's out with a
sprained knee. Injured forwards Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh haven't played
at all this season.
On Wednesday, Eric Belanger and Scott Barney scored as the Kings skated to a
2-2 tie at Minnesota. The Kings had a 46-23 shot advantage, including a 19-6
edge in the first period.
"If we continue to play as determined as we are," Kings coach Andy Murray
said, "we know we'll be rewarded."
Next to last in the NHL with 31 points, the Blue Jackets are winless in
three (0-2-1), including Thursday's 5-3 loss to St. Louis.
Geoff Sanderson, Todd Marchant and Nikolai Zherdev each had a goal and an
assist for the Blue Jackets, who squandered a third-period lead, surrendering
three unanswered goals.
"We were controlling the play pretty much in the third period," Columbus
goalie Marc Denis said. "I would have liked to have come up with a big save in
a key moment, but it didn't happen."