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Reeling Kings head to Columbus

by Brian Compton /
KINGS (13-13-4) at BLUE JACKETS (9-17-4)

: FS-West (HD), FS-Ohio (HD)

Last 10: Los Angeles 3-6-1; Columbus 4-4-2.

Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. Los Angeles took three of the four matchups against Columbus in 2010-11.

Big Story: Things are not going very well in Los Angeles, which is trying to avoid its first six-game losing streak in four years. The Kings' recent funk cost Terry Murray his job on Monday, and the club was shut out in its first game under John Stevens 24 hours later in a 3-0 loss at Boston. Los Angeles has scored all of six goals during its five-game skid and hasn't scored more than two in nine consecutive games.

"I thought the guys tried really hard tonight," Stevens said after his first game as interim coach. "I thought they did a lot of good things in the offensive zone, and I thought they expended a lot of energy trying to win a hockey game, considering the emotions that they've gone through with Terry being let go, a man they respect enormously. I really thought they acted like professionals tonight and really tried to focus on the hockey game and winning the hockey game."

Team Scope:

Kings: Los Angeles obviously came up short Tuesday night, but it wasn't due to a lack of effort. The Kings peppered Tuukka Rask with 41 shots, but the Bruins' goalie stopped them all as the frustrations continued. Los Angeles is averaging a League-worst 2.13 goals per game.

"It's pretty much the same story, I guess," Kings center Anze Kopitar told "We're throwing everything we can out there. I think we had 41 shots and we had a couple of really good opportunities. We hit a couple posts. We've just got to keep going. Eventually we're going to score. Eventually they will go in."
Blue Jackets: Steve Mason finally bounced back Tuesday night, as the Columbus goaltender stopped 30 shots to lead his club to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Nationwide Arena. It was Mason's first win since Nov. 12, as he posted a 4.91 goals-against average in the five appearances he made last month.

"It's been a long time since I played. I've been hard on myself," he said. "There's probably nobody harder on me than I am. I expect a lot better. Tonight was a good performance. Over the last three or four weeks, I think I've matured a lot in a lot of ways."

Who's Hot: Kopitar has 4 assists in his last six games. … Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski has 6 assists in as many contests. Rick Nash is 2-2-4 over his last six games.

Injury Report: Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (lower body) is day-to-day, while forwards Scott Parse (lower body) and Mike Richards (upper body) are out. … Columbus winger Derek Dorsett is day-to-day with a leg injury, while goalie Mark Dekanich (groin), forward Kristian Huselius (lower body) and defenseman Radek Martinek (concussion) are out.

Stat Pack: The Kings have failed to score a power-play goal in four consecutive games. In their last nine games, they are 2-for-28 with the man advantage. … Mason is 1-4-0 with a 4.96 GAA in his last five appearances against Los Angeles.

Puck Drop: "L.A., obviously, they've made big changes. They'll be a desperate hockey team and we've got to be as good as we were this game." -- Columbus coach Scott Arniel after Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win against Vancouver

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