The Los Angeles Kings lost their second consecutive game after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 via the shootout. It was the 10th consecutive win for Columbus.
It turned into the Jeff Carter and Cam Atkinson show in Columbus, Ohio with both Carter and Atkinson scoring both of their team’s regulation goals and adding tallies in the shootout.
“I thought we did a lot of good things. I mean, we put up 46 shots or something like that. Got to put the puck in the net though, you know, we had a lot of good chances myself included that we needed to really bear down on,” said Carter via LA Kings Insider. “It’s probably the difference in the game, to be honest with you, I thought we played well enough to win but that’s the way she goes.”
While Carter and Atkinson were dueling in the goals column it was Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney who shouldered the workload for Columbus. He turned away 44 shots to lead his team to its franchise-best 10th consecutive win.
“We had a really strong game,” said coach Darryl Sutter, via LA Kings Insider. “Came back twice from down one goal against a team that had lost only five games, I believe, all season.”
For the Kings, they will have to regroup quickly as they have back-to-back games in Nashville and Dallas on Thursday and Friday.
The Blue Jackets came out of the gates and controlled the early going in the game. Their play was aided by two power-play opportunities in the first 10 minutes. The Kings were able to weather the storm and turned the period around once their flow returned with full-strength play.
Despite Columbus’ two chances with the man-advantage and the Kings firing 12 shots on net during the opening period, it was the men between the pipes who won the first period. Curtis McElhinney and Peter Budaj turned away a combined 20 shots to keep the game tied at zero after 20 minutes of play.
Enter Cam Atkinson and Jeff Carter.
The Kings came out of the locker room and controlled much of the play to start the middle frame. Los Angeles held a shot advantage of 9-1 over the course of the first seven minutes of the period. But just over seven and a half minutes into the period, the Blue Jackets scored on just their second shot of the period.
Atkinson was able to slide in behind Carter, who was covering the front of the net, and as Brandon Dubinksy skated out from behind the net he found Atkinson on the back door for the tic-tac-toe finish.
Then just under nine minutes after Atkinson scored the game’s first goal, the Kings’ power-play unit was able to even the score at one apiece. Alec Martinez found Carter on the back door, who redirected Martinez’s pass off his skate and past McElhinney.
McElhinney had stopped the first 24 shots he faced up to that point in the game.
The third period brought out the second act of the Atkinson and Carter show.
First, Atkinson found the back of the net again. The box score will look nearly identical, Atkinson from Dubinsky. However, this time it was a bit of puck luck and not a nice play from down low that beat Budaj.
Dubinksy again came from behind the Kings’ net. But this time Dubinsky fed Atkinson on the point rather than on the backdoor. Atkinson unloaded a shot from the point. His shot made its way to the top of the crease where it ricocheted off of a Kings defender and past Budaj.
Then just over 10 minutes into the third period, Carter followed up Atkinson’s second goal of the game with his second. Drew Doughty stepped up, carried the puck through the neutral zone, and fired the puck into the Columbus zone. The dump-in found its way onto Carter’s stick, and he picked up the bouncing puck and beat McElhinney.
With 1:29 to play in regulation, Devin Setoguchi chipped the puck into the Columbus zone where David Savard took a holding penalty and put the Kings on the power play for the remainder of the period.
The Kings were unable to end regulation and had 31 seconds of carryover penalty time to start the extra frame. But after the Kings’ 31-second power play to start overtime and the remaining four and half minutes, the score was still tied at two despite plenty of back-and-forth action.
In the shootout, Atkinson and Sam Gagner opened with goals for Columbus. Anze Kopitar missed the Kings’ first shot but Carter kept his team alive with a goal in the second round. In the final round, Budaj stopped Alex Wennberg and McElhinney denied Marian Gaborik and sealed the win for Columbus.
CBJ – Cam Atkinson (13) assisted by Brandon Dubinsky (8) and Boone Jenner (5)
LAK – Jeff Carter (15) assisted by Alec Martinez (12) and Drew Doughty (12)
CBJ – Cam Atkinson (14) assisted by Brandon Dubinksy (9) and David Savard
LAK – Jeff Carter (16) unassisted
THW Three Stars
First: Curtis McElhinney (44 saves)
Second: Cam Atkinson (2 goals)
Third: Jeff Carter (2 goals)
Los Angeles Kings at Nashville Predators
Bridgestone Arena – 5:00 p.m. PST on Thursday, Dec. 22
Broadcast channels: FS-W, FS-TN
2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 27 – Los Angeles 3 – Nashville 2 (OT)
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.