NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 15th
(All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-2) at Los Angeles Kings (4-5-2), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Despite putting together their most impressive victory of
the season earlier this week, the Columbus Blue Jackets still opted to shake
up their front office.
The Blue Jackets will try to impress their new general manager on Friday night
as they look for their first winning streak of the season in a clash with the
Los Angeles Kings.
Columbus snapped a three-game slide on Monday and won for just the fourth time
this season with a solid 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The win wasn't
enough to save Scott Howson's job, though, as he was fired the following day
and replaced in the GM spot by Jarmo Kekalainen.
Kekalainen, a native of Finland, became the first European general manager in
NHL history and had been serving that role with Jokerit of the Finnish Elite
League. He had previously worked in St. Louis with current Columbus president
The Blue Jackets are 4-7-2 on the season and their 10 points are tied for the
fewest in the Western Conference along with Friday's opponent, the Kings.
Columbus, though, certainly has an impressive win to build off of. Six
different skaters scored in Monday's win, with Brandon Dubinsky netting his
first goal of the season just 43 seconds in. Dubinsky was one of the players
that Howson acquired in the offseason from the New York Rangers in exchange
for forward Rick Nash.
Cody Goloubef added his first NHL goal, James Wisniewski tallied and Vinny
Prospal and Mark Letestu matched a franchise record by scoring eight seconds
apart during the third period.
Steve Mason made 25 saves and Wisniewski afterwards pointed out the simple
contrast from the previous night's 3-1 loss to Edmonton.
"I think the difference between last night and tonight is that we scored
goals," said Wisniewski. "We kept going, kept playing our game. Finally our
hard work paid off."
Columbus is 1-3-0 as the guest this season and open a six-game road trip.
While Wisniewski is not expected to be with the club due to his wife giving
birth to the couple's first child, fellow blueliners Adrian Aucoin and John
Moore are cleared to return to action from their respective lower body
Aucoin has missed the past six games, while Moore has sat out the last four.
Despite the GM change, the Blue Jackets' struggles this season aren't a total
surprise. However, the defending champion Kings sitting at just 4-5-2 on the
season certainly catches the eye.
Los Angeles had lost two straight prior to Monday's 4-1 win over St. Louis and
it was only its second victory in six games. Former Blue Jacket Jeff Carter
scored twice in the win over the Blues, upping his team-leading total to six.
Davis Drewiske and Jarret Stoll also scored and Jonathan Bernier made 21 saves
in his first start and only second appearance of the season.
"I was really happy with our performance today," said Bernier. "We really
battled hard out there today and got rewarded for our efforts."
Jonathan Quick had started each of the previous 10 games, going 3-4-2 with a
2.70 goals against average and .891 save percentage.
The Kings did lose blueliner Alec Martinez to an upper body injury in Monday's
win and he joins fellow defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene on injured
The Kings visited the Blue Jackets on Feb. 5 and notched a 4-2 victory, their
sixth in the past eight meetings. They have also won four of the past six
played at Los Angeles in this series.
02/15 10:36:57 ET