Game 51 Preview: Time To Bounce Back

Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings

February 1, 2012 - 10:30pm EST
Staples Center - Los Angeles, California
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Jewels From The Crown

Well, right back on the horse. Although, that would imply the Jackets attempted to get on the horse at all last night in San Jose, which it was clear they did not.

Even better, the Kings are playing their first game back from the break. They haven't played since last Monday. They're rested, they're ready to make a playoff push, and they play great defense. Why is that last part relevant? Well, in case you haven't noticed, the Jackets aren't really "scoring goals" of late, with just five goals in their last five games (0-4-1). They've been shut out twice. In addition, the defense has been especially crap-tastic during that stretch, allowing 19 goals.

That ain't good, folks.

Tonight should be a little easier, as the Kings are struggling to score almost as much as the Jackets are overall. That said, the Jackets are so banged up on defense--on top of the fact that they're already just not that good--that it makes it a bit tougher. Marc Methot missed last night's game, and is questionable tonight with an illness.

Curtis Sanford will get the start in goal for Columbus tonight as well. He shut out the Kings the last time the two teams played, for whatever that's worth.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(13-31-6, 32 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Antoine Vermette Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Ryan Johansen
Ryan Russell Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Brett Lebda
John Moore Aaron Johnson
Grant Clitsome David Savard
Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Los Angeles Kings
(24-16-10, 58 Points; 2nd Division, 7th Conference)

Dustin Brown Anze Kopitar Justin Williams
Dustin Penner Mike Richards Jarret Stoll
Kyle Clifford Colin Fraser Trent Hunter
Brad Richardson Andrei Loktionov Trevor Lewis
Rob Scuderi Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson Matt Greene
Willie Mitchell Slava Voynov
Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Season Series

12/15/11 - Los Angeles 2 at Columbus 1 - RECAP
01/07/12 - Columbus 1 at Los Angeles 0 - RECAP
02/01/12 - Columbus at Los Angeles
03/08/12 - Los Angeles at Columbus

Head to Head

Los Angeles Columbus
2.14 (30) GPG 2.24 (29)
2.10 (3) GAPG 3.28 (29)
14.8% (23) PP% 14.5% (24)
86.5% (5) PK% 76.0% (29)
Anze Kopitar, 15 G leader Rick Nash, 17
Anze Kopitar, 29 A leader Vinny Prospal, 21
Anze Kopitar, 44 Pts leader Rick Nash, 33
Kyle Clifford, 78 PIM leader Derek Dorsett, 118
14-11-4 Road/Home 5-18-3
1/23 vs. Ottawa, W 4-1 Last Game 1/31 @ San Jose, L 6-0
5-2-3 Last 10 2-7-1

Game Notes:

  • Snoozefest - These two teams have combined for four total goals in two games. Yawn.
  • Speaking of Not Scoring - The Jackets have a tough test, facing All Star netminder Jonathan Quick. Quick leads the league in shutouts (6), which does not bode well consider the Jackets have been shut out twice in their last five games (after not being shut out in their first 45 games). Quick has made 42 starts, and has 21 wins (51 total team points in his starts), and has posted a 1.93 gaa and a 93.4% save percentage.

I don't have much else to emphasize, since this game really will come down to whether Columbus can score some goals.

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