Kings-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Los Angeles Kings (22-15-13-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (15-28-8-3).
TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Los Angeles Kings look to extend their seven-game unbeaten streak as
they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Kings beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Tuesday, improving to 4-0-3 over
their last seven games.
Trent Klatt scored the game-winner at 8:01 of the third period for Los
Angeles, which is tied with Calgary for sixth place in the Western Conference
with 62 points.
"It was a big win for us," Klatt said. "As tight as the race is, two
points are all that matter."
Roman Cechmanek made 22 saves for the Kings, who start a four-game road trip
"If other teams lose, it's great," coach Andy Murray said. "But we know
the main thing is that we've got to keep winning."
The Kings have averaged 3.4 goals during their undefeated streak and ranked
fourth in the conference with 145 goals coming into Tuesday's game.
"We're trying to play a game where we give up two goals or less," Murray
said. "We don't sit back and trap, and neither does the Wild. They have an
aggressive forecheck, and we tried to play an aggressive game tonight, too."
The Blue Jackets, who are playing their first game since the All-Star break,
are simply hoping to reach .500 by the end of the season. To do that, they'll
have to win 21 of their remaining 28 games, barring ties.
"When I started Jan. 1, I just wanted to win one game and start from
there," interim coach Gerard Gallant said. "I haven't really set any goals.
You look at your team and you want to push forward.
"Like I said, hopefully we can win as many games as we can, but definitely
.500 is reachable. But I think we can do better than that."
Columbus, which lost 1-0 to Dallas last Wednesday in its last game before
the break, has just 41 points, worse than all but two teams in the league
(Pittsburgh and Chicago).
However, the Blue Jackets have posted a respectable 6-7-4 record since
Gallant took over as coach at the start of this year.