Columbus Blue Jackets, 19-15-8, 46 points, 6th Metro, 10th East
Los Angeles Kings, 17-22-4, 38 points, 7th Pacific, 13th West
After their twelve game point streak came to an end Saturday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks, the Columbus Blue Jackets jetted off to the west coast to begin their California road trip. First up, the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings have been mostly awful this season (with the exception of captain and leading scorer Anze Kopitar, who has 15-22-37 this season). The Kings are among the bottom of the league in every key statistical measure and have just 38 points thus far this season.
In Jackets news, yesterday the team announced the return of Markus Nutivaara from injured reserve.
In addition to the activation of Emil Bemstrom, Cam Atkinson is reportedly closing in on a return from his high ankle sprain.
#CBJ Cam Atkinson continues to look as if he’s close to returning, but high-ankle sprains are tricky. In practice, the moves are predictable/repetitive. In games, quite the opposite.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 5, 2020
Said he had a high-ankle sprain to his left ankle a few years ago and it still bothers him.
With the three California teams struggling and none in a playoff position, this is a key chance for the Jackets to grab six points before heading to Vegas for the final game of the four game road trip. The journey starts tonight.
Player to Watch
Tyler Toffoli was trade bait for the Kings earlier this year. Despite playing all 82 games last season, Toffoli registered just 34 points (13-21-34). This year, however, Toffoli has rebounded. In just 42 games, Toffoli has posted 11-13-24 and comes into tonight’s game on a three game point streak (1-2-3). The Kings’ offense has struggled this season, but the Jackets must still be on notice.
Markus Nutivaara was activated from injured reserve yesterday after he missed the last 27 games with an upper body injury ... Zach Werenski has seven goals in his last eight games ... Werenski has 13 goals, tied for second among NHL defensemen ... Boone Jenner has three points in his last three games and has 2-3-5 in his last eight contests
The Other Bench
Anze Kopitar was recently voted the “LA Kings player of the decade” by Kings fans ... Alec Martinez is set to return from injured reserve, having missed 18 games with an upper body injury ... Kurtis MacDermid will miss tonight’s contest, serving the second of a two game suspension for a hit to the head of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov ... After dumping the Ilya Kovalchuk contract, the Kings will save $4.25 million against the salary cap next season
12/19/2019 LAK 2 @ CBJ 3
01/06/2020 CBJ @ LAK
|2.56 (28)||GPG||2.60 (27)|
|3.14 (21)||GAPG||2.71 (7)|
|14.9% (28)||PP%||16.8% (23)|
|74.6% (29)||PK%||80.8% (17)|
|53.66% (3)||5v5 Corsi %||49..93% (16)|
|53.80% (2)||5v5 Fenwick %||52.24% (7)|
|6.31 (30)||5v5 Shot %||6.62 (29)|
|.909 (25)||5v5 Save %||.925 (8)|
|Anze Kopitar, 15||G Leader||Pierre-Luc Dubois, 14|
|Anze Kopitar, 22||A Leader||Seth Jones, 20|
|Anze Kopitar, 37||P Leader||Pierre-Luc Dubois, Gustav Nyquist, 28|
|Kyle Clifford, 43||PIM Leader||Nick Foligno, 45|
|11-8-1||Home / Road||7-6-6|
|Gustav Nyquist||Boone Jenner||Nick Foligno|
|Eric Robinson||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Kevin Stenlund|
|Sonny Milano||Alexander Wennberg||Nathan Gerbe|
|Ryan MacInnis||Riley Nash||Jakob Lilja|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Vladislav Gavrikov||David Savard|
|Markus Nutivaara||Gabriel Carlsson|
|Alex Iafallo||Anze Kopitar||Tyler Toffoli|
|Adrian Kempe||Blake Lizotte||Austin Wagner|
|Nikolai Prokhorkin||Jeff Carter||Martin Frk|
|Kyle Clifford||Mike Amadio||Matt Luff|
|Sean Walker||Drew Doughty|
|Ben Hutton||Matt Roy|
|Alec Martinez||Kale Clague|