It's been quite a week for the Jackets: from playing well on Sunday against Edmonton, to breaking through and embarrassing San Jose on Monday, to firing Scott Howson and hiring Jarmo Kekalainan in the GM suite, and then traveling across the country, the Jackets have had a full slate this week.
While having three days off was probably nice, I wonder if it would have been nice to build off of the momentum of the last two games for the Jackets. For what it's worth, having some practice time and a chance to rest couldn't hurt, either. Both teams are in that boat, having not played since Monday.
The Kings had a rough road trip, with three losses (Anaheim, Nashville, and the groin-kicker in Detroit), but finished the trip with a HUGE win in St. Louis against the reeling Blues. Jeff Carter keeps scoring goals. I has a sad.
The last time these two teams met up 10 days ago, the Jackets were coming off a complete domination of Detroit. I wondered in the preview if they could build off of that win. They came out and played a great first period... and then proceeded to get steamrolled in the final 40 minutes en route to a 4-2 loss. In the three games since for Columbus, they played better against Calgary, but let up for a few stretches and got burned. They played 60 minutes against Edmonton, and got robbed by a white-hot goaltender. They played 60 minutes against the Sharks, and freaking DESTROYED them. Progress? CAN YOU BUILD OFF OF IT??
In addition, the Jackets have gotten both James Wisniewski and Nikita Nikitin back on defense since that last game, and are sporting a stronger defensive lineup than that night last week. Conversely, the Kings lost another defenseman--Alec Martinez--to the IR.
Is this game winnable? It all depends on who shows up. If the Jackets continue on the trend they've been on since the teams last played, it's absolutely winnable. If they allow the Kings to knock them off of their game for long stretches, well, I don't need to tell you how that probably turns out. The Kings are going with Jonathan Bernier in net, after the win in St. Louis, whereas Columbus is going with Sergei Bobrovsky despite a solid showing from Steve Mason on Monday.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-7-2, 10 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
|R.J. Umberger||Derick Brassard||Derek Dorsett|
|Vinny Prospal||Artem Anisimov||Mark Letestu|
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Nick Foligno|
|Colton Gillies||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Nikita Nikitin|
|Jack Johnson||James Wisniewski|
|Tim Erixon||Cody Goloubef|
Los Angeles Kings
(4-5-2, 10 Points; 5th Division, 14th Conference)
|Simon Gagne||Anze Kopitar||Dustin Brown|
|Kyle Clifford||Jeff Carter||Justin Williams|
|Dwight King||Mike Richards||Jordan Nolan|
|Dustin Penner||Jarret Stoll||Trevor Lewis|
|Keaton Ellerby||Drew Doughty|
|Rob Scuderi||Slava Voynov|
|Davis Drewiske||Jake Muzzin|
02/05/13 - Los Angeles 4 at Columbus 2
02/15/13 - Columbus at Los Angeles
04/18/13 - Columbus at Los Angeles
Head to Head
Los Angeles Columbus 2.27 (24) GPG 2.23 (26) 2.82 (20) GAPG 3.08 (23) 11.8% (27) PP% 15.2% (23) 79.6% (20) PK% 83.7% (9) Jeff Carter, 6 G leader Mark Letestu, 5 three tied, 5 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 9 Jeff Carter / Anze Kopitar, 7 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 10 Mike Richards, 30 PIM leader Jared Boll, 61 1-1-1 Home/Road 1-3-0 2/11 @ St. Louis, W 4-1 Last Game 2/11 vs San Jose, W 6-2 4-4-2 Last 10 3-6-1
- Special Teams - The Jackets' PP has goals in three straight games, and their PK has been stellar of late. The Kings' PP has been a work in progress, to say the least, and their PK has struggled a bit lately. The Jackets need to capitalize.
- Dubi and Richards - OK, so it's clear these two DO. NOT. LIKE. EACH. OTHER. Dubi earned himself a nice little fine after last Tuesday's hit on Rob Scuderi, but the fallout from THAT was that he and Richards had quite a scuffle, which earned Richards a double-minor. There is some carry-over from their days in the Eastern Conference, and one wonders what it might take to get them going again tonight.
- The Quick and The Dead - Jonathan Quick isn't having a great February, with a 3.23 gaa and .853 save% in four games this month. Jonathan Bernier is making his second straight start. Coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about Bernier starting tonight: "We haven’t thought about it. I haven’t gotten there. Bernie’s coming off a strong game, and…it’s not like I’m jumping, out, saying anything special. We need [Quick] to play a hell of a lot better than he has. Our goals against, our save percentage, when you do all that stuff, it’s not where it has to be."
These West Coast road trips have almost always = DEATH for this club. We'll see if the last two games carry over, and if the new GM gives them a little something extra to play for. You know, proving your worth, and such.