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Game #35 Preview: Jackets look to extend point streak

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Here’s what you need to know

Los Angeles Kings v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, December 19, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Jewels From The Crown

Los Angeles Kings (15-18-3, 33 points, 7th Pacific, 13th West)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (14-14-6, 34 points, 7th Metro, 13th East)

The Blue Jackets return to Nationwide following a comeback win in Detroit. That makes two wins in a row, and points in the last five. The Kings - currently in the middle of a lengthy rebuild - are also riding a five game point streak which includes three wins in the first four games of a six game road trip

Player to Watch

Oliver BJORKSTRAND

The Maestro scored twice against Washington on Monday and once against Detroit on Tuesday to reach the ten goal mark for the season, one behind Pierre-Luc Dubois for the team lead. Lately, the team has gone as BJORKSTRAND has gone: he is pointless in the last six losses, but has 11 points (6 G, 5 A) in the last seven wins. He and Gus Nyquist have shown growing chemistry on a line together.

Jackets Notes

I’m taking a wild guess that Elvis Merzlikins will start in goal, following Joonas Korpisalo playing both legs of the back-to-back earlier in the week, along with a relief appearance on Saturday. If Elvis starts, that will be his first start at Nationwide. If he doesn’t start, however, I won’t be surprised given Torts’ handling of the goalie situation so far this season ... Andrew Peeke suffered a broken hand on Tuesday, so he will be out for a while. That’s especially a shame given how well his NHL career had started ... Alexander Wennberg left the game after taking a stick to the face, but it’s not yet known if he’ll miss more time than that ... Sonny Milano remains day-to-day as well ... In happier injury news, Kole Sherwood was activated off the injured reserve and sent back to the Cleveland Monsters ... Kevin Stenlund scored his first career NHL goal on Tuesday.

The Other Bench

The Kings also played on Tuesday, dropping the Boston Bruins in overtime ... The Kings finally parted ways with Ilya Kovalchuk, which turned out to be a big mistake for both sides ... Center Anze Kopitar is still going strong in his age 32 season, your daily reminder that Doug MacLean was a terrible GM.

Season Series

12/19/2019 LAK @ CBJ
01/06/2020 CBJ @ LAK

Stats

Los Angeles Columbus
2.61 (25) GPG 2.56 (28)
3.14 (19) GAPG 2.94 (13)
13.1% (30) PP% 17.5% (20)
73.8% (29) PK% 79.5% (19)
53.30% (3) 5v5 Corsi % 50.80% (11)
53.8% (2) 5v5 Fenwick % 52.8% (6)
6.9 (28) 5v5 Shot % 6.7 (30)
.909 (27) 5v5 Save % .921 (12)
Anze "Not Gilbert Brule" Kopitar, 14 G Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 11
Anze Kopitar, 18 A Leader Seth Jones and Gus Nyquist, 15
Anze Kopitar, 32 P Leader Gus Nyquist, 23
Kyle Clifford, 38 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 29
5-12-2 Home / Road 9-8-1
5-4-1 Last 10 4-4-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Pierre-Luc Dubois Alexandre Texier
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Marko Dano Riley Nash Kevin Stenlund
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Dean Kukan Scott Harrington
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Los Angeles Kings
Alex Iafallo Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown
Trevor Lewis Jeff Carter Kyle Clifford
Nikolai Prokhorkin Mike Amadio Tyler Toffoli
Adrian Kempe Blake Lizotte Austin Wagner
Joakim Ryan Drew Doughty
Ben Hutton Matt Roy
Kurtis MacDermid Sean Walker
Jonathan Quick
Jack Campbell