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Game Preview: Taking the Crown

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Columbus welcomes the Kings to town. Can they make it 10 straight?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angles Kings at Columbus Blue Jackets
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Game Faceoff

The Blue Jackets, fresh off of their second ever sweep of the western Canada road trip, return home to Columbus tonight to take on the Los Angeles Kings. Columbus enters looking to make franchise history tonight by notching their tenth straight win, a mark that has never been met before. Columbus also just won their 20th game, a mark they didn’t hit until February of last season. This is completely uncharted territory for Columbus.

Also uncharted territory? The production from Cam Atkinson. Atkinson is 12-19-31 for the team lead in points this season, and that might be understating his importance to the team thus far. He is productive in every facet of the game, notching power play goals and important minutes shorthanded (he also has two shorthanded goals). Cam has erupted as a player, taking his game to a new level since Tortorella arrived in Columbus. It’s been incredibly fun to see.

Columbus will look to lock down the third period after Sunday, where they allowed the first goals in the period in the month of December. Hopefully the team can get back on track and close out games like we have seen them do through most of the season.

The Kings come into the game looking to bounce back after a shutout loss that saw Marian Gaborik as a healthy scratch. The Kings, perennial contenders in the Western Conference, sit mired in the middle of the stance. Expect them to come out fast in the first period. Columbus will need a MUCH better effort than what we saw on Sunday afternoon to match them from the start.

In team news, Oliver Bjorkstrand (who had been traveling with the team as an extra forward in Canada) has been returned to the Monsters. This post will be updated when the starting goalie is announced, but I’m going to assume it’s Sergei Bobrovsky until it doesn’t happen. I would not be shocked, however, if Mac starts this one so that Bob can go back to back Thursday and Friday. Mac gets the start tonight, per the Blue Jackets twitter account. This leads me to believe that we will in fact see Sergei Bobrovsky go back to back Thursday and Friday with the huge Eastern Conference matchups.

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Markus Nutivaara Ryan Murray
Curtis McElhinney
Sergei Bobrovsky

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Markus Nutivaara Ryan Murray
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Los Angeles Kings

Marian Gaborik Anze Kopitar Trevor Lewis
Dwight King Jeff Carter Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson Nic Dowd Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford Nick Shore Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin Alec Martinez
Matt Greene Tom Gilbert
Peter Budaj
Jeff Zatkoff