The Columbus Blue Jackets return home after a sweep of western Canada and open a three-game homestand Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Kings come to town. The Blue Jackets are looking to make franchise history, as a win over the Kings will give them 10 straight wins. The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights this week leading up to the Christmas break. The Kings are playing their fifth game of a nine-game road trip.
Last time out, the Blue Jackets needed overtime to extend their streak to nine games. Seth Jones scored 46 seconds into overtime to lift the Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Coach John Tortorella won his 500th career game as coach. On Monday, the Blue Jackets assigned forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Cleveland Monsters prior to the holiday roster freeze taking effect. With 12 healthy forwards on the roster, don’t expect any lineup changes for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky is your likely starter. The Blue Jackets are holding a morning skate.
The Kings come into Columbus off of back-to-back 1-0 games. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime Friday and lost to Boston in regulation Sunday. Goaltender Peter Budaj started both games and was outstanding in each. Expect him to start against the Blue Jackets. Dustin Brown missed the Boston game and is day-to-day. Former Blue Jacket Marian Gaborik didn’t play Sunday because of a coach’s decision. I’d expect both to return to the lineup Tuesday.
Los Angeles Kings at Columbus Blue Jackets
Nationwide Arena – 7:00 p.m. EST
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go and Fox Sports West
Radio Broadcast Channels: 97.1 The Fan and KABC 790
Los Angeles Kings: 16-13-2, 34 points
Road Record: 6-9-1
Hot Players: Peter Budaj, Jeff Carter
Key Injuries: Dustin Brown (upper-body, day-to-day), Brayden McNabb (upper-body, week-to-week), Jonathan Quick (lower-body, out indefinitely)
Tanner Pearson-Anze Kopitar-Trevor Lewis
Dwight King-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli
Andy Andreoff-Nic Dowd-Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford-Nick Shore-Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort-Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin-Tom Gilbert
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene
Peter Budaj (Projected Starter)
Columbus Blue Jackets: 20-5-4, 44 points
Home Record: 10-3-1
Hot Players: Brandon Saad, Alexander Wennberg, Cam Atkinson, Sergei Bobrovsky
Key Injuries: David Clarkson (back, on LTIR)
Brandon Saad-Alexander Wennberg-Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell-Lukas Sedlak-Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski-Seth Jones
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Markus Nutivaara-Ryan Murray
Sergei Bobrovsky (Projected Starter)
1) The Blue Jackets look to make it 10 wins in a row on Tuesday night. If they win, that’s the first time in franchise history the Blue Jackets will have a double-digit winning streak. They haven’t lost a game since Nov. 23, a 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena.
2) The Blue Jackets are a perfect 8-0 in December and are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games overall. At Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games. They have 10 wins at home and on the road. The only other team in the league that has at least 10 wins at home and on the road is the New York Rangers. Coming into tonight, the Blue Jackets have played five fewer games.
3) The Blue Jackets continue to dominate both in goals for and goals against. In their last 11 games, the Blue Jackets have outscored their opponents 42-19 counting shootout goals. As a result, they are now tied for first in the league in goals for per game (3.34) and are second in the league in goals against per game (2.07).
4) The Los Angeles Kings always pose a challenge to the Blue Jackets. On Oct. 25, the Kings defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime thanks to an Alec Martinez goal. Overall, the Kings hold a 26-22-6 advantage on the Blue Jackets in the all-time series, with Columbus holding a 13-10-3 edge at Nationwide Arena.
Expect this game to stay close throughout. In their last three meetings, the final score was 3-2 each time. Two of those games went to overtime. This is an interesting contrast in styles. The Kings will forecheck you hard and try to establish their physical game. The Blue Jackets want to get their speed going, but aren’t afraid to play physical either. The Blue Jackets need to stay out of the penalty box unlike the third period in Vancouver. Whoever stays disciplined the most will have the best chance to win on Tuesday night.