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Game #43 Preview: Blue Jackets head west on California road trip, face off with Kings

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Here’s what you need to know.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings
Monday, January 6, 2020 - 10:30 EST
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Jewels from the Crown

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.

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

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.

Jackets Notes

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

Season Series

12/19/2019 LAK 2 @ CBJ 3
01/06/2020 CBJ @ LAK

Stats

Los Angeles Columbus
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
4-4-2 Last 10 7-1-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
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
Elvis Merzlikins
Matiss Kivlenieks
Los Angeles Kings
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
Jonathan Quick
Jack Campbell