Columbus Blue Jackets (5–2–0) vs. Los Angeles Kings (5–0–1)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2017, 7 p.m. (NATIONWIDE ARENA)
John Tortorella reminded media after Tuesday's loss that there's no reason for his team to go soul-searching. They've won five of their first seven. At even strength, their offense looks every bit as good as it was last season. Sergei Bobrovsky has been outstanding and Joonas Korpisalo has chipped in with two starts.
The power play is sputtering, but they're hopeful to get it figured out.
This is the right time of the season to get tested; the Blue Jackets haven't had an easy schedule by any means, but this week's set of Winnipeg-Tampa Bay-Los Angeles is stout, considering each team is off to a strong start.
The Kings suffered a major blow Tuesday, losing Jeff Carter to a leg injury (skate cut) that is expected to have him sidelined 6-8 weeks. Carter underwent surgery earlier this week to repair the injury.
You Oughta Know: Dustin Brown
From 2007-2012, Brown was one of the Kings' top players and a 50-point (or more) player each season. But then, he hit a wall; from 2012-2017, Brown didn't top 36 points in a single season and his role with the Kings was diminished. The captaincy, once his, now belongs to Anze Kopitar. After a rough stretch that included trade and buyout rumors, Brown is off to a better start this season. He has four goals in six games and figures to be get more ice time with Carter out of the lineup.
THIS YEAR: First of two meetings
LAST YEAR: Teams split two meetings
Keys to the Game
ONE: Yes...you know it's coming. The power play. We've written about it over and over but the Blue Jackets need something positive to come from the man advantage. Shoot the puck, get convergence and traffic around the net, and see if you can't bang in a rebound or loose puck. It's going to take an ugly goal to reverse the tide.
TWO: Quick thinking. John Tortorella said the Blue Jackets made slow decisions and didn't play as fast as they had in previous games, which played a role in their 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. They'll need a better start and better pace to put pressure on a structured and disciplined Kings team.
THREE: Boone Jenner. If the Blue Jackets get him back in the lineup tonight (stressing if — but it appears possible), they'll get a boost of energy from his presence alone. They've missed Jenner on the forecheck, digging pucks out along the wall and at the net-front. Should he make his season debut, expect to see him in the early going as Tortorella tries to set the tone.
Kings Projected Lineup
|19||Alex Iafallo||6 GP, 0-1-1||11||Anze Kopitar||6 GP, 4-4-8||23||Dustin Brown||6 GP, 4-3-7|
|70||Tanner Pearson||6 GP, 1-2-3||21||Nick Shore||6 GP, 1-1-2||73||Tyler Toffoli||6 GP, 2-3-5|
|14||Michael Cammalleri||4 GP, 2-2-4||9||Adrian Kempe||6 GP, 3-1-4||22||Trevor Lewis||6 GP, 1-2-3|
|15||Andy Andreoff||4 GP, 0-0-0||25||Brooks Laich||0 GP, 0-0-0||79||Justin Auger||0 GP, 0-0-0|
|24||Derek Forbort||6 GP, 0-2-2||8||Drew Doughty||6 GP, 2-3-5|
|6||Jake Muzzin||6 GP, 1-4-5||27||Alec Martinez||3 GP, 0-1-1|
|7||Oscar Fantenburg||6 GP, 0-3-3||5||Christian Folin||6 GP, 0-0-0|