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Game Preview #14 - Kings For A Day?

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The Jackets played one of the best games of an otherwise crappy season. Was this just a one-hit wonder, or can they build on it? Early returns don't look positive.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that time we were all happy for a day or so?

Woof.

After reading reports about a lackluster practice yesterday, it's clear something didn't sit well with John Tortorella. This lineup... ugh. Alex Wennberg is back, but is being punished for something, it appears. Dalton Prout is back, for reasons none of us can possibly fathom. Cody Goloubef is scratched. Kerby Rychel was called up and flown literally across the country... to sit in the press box.

I remember always reading that Todd McClellan of the Sharks would change his lineup to go big when he played the Blue Jackets, often times sitting better players for bigger, more physical players. Including Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets have won seven of nine against San Jose.

So, yeah, I guess correlation does not always imply causation, but damn, man. This *feels* to me like Torts wants a bigger, more physical lineup. That said, Rychel is no stranger to playing a physical game, and is probably a better option than at least three guys playing in tonight's game for Columbus. Dalton Prout is... big. He fights sometimes. He dropped Milan Lucic that one time. They'll probably scrap again tonight.

At the expense of, ya know, having a good defensive player on the ice against a team that is also FAST on the front line.

The Kings started out 0-3, but that's where the similarities to Columbus end. As Porty noted yesterday:

After losing their first three games of the season by an aggregate score of 12-2, Los Angeles has gone 8-1-0, the only loss in Chicago. The Kings have allowed 13 goals in those nine games, including a 24-save shutout by back-up goaltender Jhonas Enroth in a 3-0 win in St. Louis on Tuesday.

So, yeah, maybe this isn't a team you should try and out-think, especially when you're 3-10-0 and haven't shown the ability to play *any* kind of style well for more than a couple of periods. I don't know, folks.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(3-10-0, 6 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Nick Foligno
Gregory Campbell Alexander Wennberg Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Fedor Tyutin
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Los Angeles Kings
(8-4-0, 16 Points; 1st Division, 6th Conference)

Marian Gaborik Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown
Milan Lucic Jeff Carter Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson Nick Shore Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford Andy Andreoff Jordan Nolan
Brayden McNabb Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin Alec Martinez
Christian Ehrhoff Jamie McBain
Jonathan Quick
Jhonas Enroth