So, I hope you like The Simpsons. Otherwise, the title and lede above make no sense. That's what Google is for, people.
Alright, I hope you've all got your boo-in' pants on tonight. Jeff Carter is making his one and only return to Columbus tonight, with his newly minted championship ring.
[steps away to smash things on the shelf]
[sits back down]
The Kings are struggling a bit out of the gate, as the goaltending that carried them to The Cup has not been there so far. They'd been missing Anze Kopitar for a stretch, and have a couple of defensemen out. [waits for Jackets fan laughter]. Let me get out my violin, Los Angeles.
The expected lineup for tonight contains two of the six opening night defensemen. Nikita Nikitin is close but not ready; James Wisniewski is still haunting my nightmares with his collision into the end boards Saturday night; Adrian Aucoin is still out; John Moore is now out with a lower-body injury. So, Nick Holden makes his season debut tonight, as does the recently-recalled Cody Goloubef. Jack Johnson set a franchise record Saturday for ice time; anyone wanna bet how close he gets to that again tonight, especially against his former mates?
The Jackets did get one positive piece of injury news, as Matt Calvert is back tonight, which relegates Jonathan Audy-Marchessault back to Springfield.
Steve Mason will get his second consecutive start after two solid appearances. The Kings have been struggling to score throughout their lineup, but with the patchwork defense in front of Mason the Jackets will have to be tight. They did well Saturday by forechecking, wearing down Detroit, and capitalizing on the Wings' mistakes. They're going to need to do that again tonight.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(3-5-1, 7 Points; 5th division, 13th conference)
|Derick Brassard||Brandon Dubinsky||Nick Foligno|
|R.J. Umberger||Artem Anisimov||Derek Dorsett|
|Matt Calvert||Ryan Johansen||Vinny Prospal|
|Derek MacKenzie||Mark Letestu||Jared Boll|
|Jack Johnson||Tim Erixon|
|Fedor Tyutin||Cody Goloubef|
|Nick Holden||David Savard|
Los Angeles Kings
(2-3-2, 6 Points; 5th Division, 14th Conference)
|Dustin Brown||Anze Kopitar||Justin Williams|
|Simon Gagne||Mike Richards||Jeff Carter|
|Dustin Penner||Jarret Stoll||Trevor Lewis|
|Kyle Clifford||Colin Fraser||Jordan Nolan|
|Rob Scuderi||Drew Doughty|
|Alec Martinez||Slava Voynov|
|Davis Drewiske||Jake Muzzin|
02/05/13 - Los Angeles at Columbus
02/15/13 - Columbus at Los Angeles
04/18/13 - Columbus at Los Angeles
Head to Head
Los Angeles Columbus 2.14 (27) GPG 1.89 (29) 3.14 (24) GAPG 3.00 (20) 10.8% (27) PP% 14.6% (23) 79.4% (17) PK% 85.7% (7) Dustin Brown / Jeff Carter, 3 G leader Artem Anisimov, 4 Kyle Clifford / Simon Gagne, 4 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 6 Kyle Clifford, 5 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 7 Jordan Nolan, 14 PIM leader Jared Boll, 44 1-2-1 Road/Home 2-2-1 2/2 @ Anaheim, L 7-4 Last Game 2/2 vs Detroit, W 4-2 2-3-2 Last 10 3-5-1
- 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.
- All Hands on Deck - The blue line stepped up on Saturday after Wiz went down. It's going to take that same kind of effort tonight, as they're a little low on experience. No doubt Jack Johnson will have some extra juice for tonight, as he played his butt off last spring in his only game against the Kings after the trade. Beyond even the blue line, however, Artem Anisimov was brilliant on Saturday. But, the Jackets need to find some scoring from all throughout their lineup. With the questions on defense tonight, they can't expect to win a 2-1 game.
- Get Carter - Good old Jeff Carter, the poster boy for pissing and moaning until you get what you want, and then getting rewarded for it with a championship. He has three goals (and no assists; I know you're all shocked) so far in seven games. We all know he's streaky (his three goals were in consecutive games), but hasn't scored in two games. Let's hope it's a dry spell, and the Jackets can keep it like that.
The Jackets of yore would not be able to build on a game like Saturday's game. Can this crew? We shall see.