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(Friday, February 15th)
Final Score: Los Angeles 2, Columbus 1
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Jonathan Bernier stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, and the Los Angeles Kings held off the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, at Staples Center.
Kyle Clifford and Mike Richards netted the goals for the Kings, who have put together back-to-back wins for the second time this season.
"I felt good from the get-go. It's hard to stay focused when they're not shooting much on goal," Bernier said. "We didn't give up much tonight. We found a way to win."
The Blue Jackets, who lost for the sixth time in eight contests, played their first game since making a major move in the front office. Earlier this week, the team fired general manager Scott Howson and named Jarmo Kekalainen as his replacement.
Nick Foligno scored with 2:25 left in regulation. Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves in defeat.
"We didn't win a lot of battles tonight," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "We spent too much time in the defensive zone. We didn't have the full commitment for 60 minutes."
Clifford poked the puck free from Columbus defenseman Nikita Nikitin along the left boards in the neutral zone. Clifford darted up the ice with a 2-on-1 break with teammate Trevor Lewis, but wristed the puck from the left circle above Bobrovsky's pad and below his glove with 1:20 left in the second period.
The defending Stanley Cup champions doubled their edge thanks to a 2-man advantage tally 1:34 into the third period. With Jared Boll (roughing) and Fedor Tyutin (holding) in the penalty box, Anze Kopitar raced up the ice with the puck before dishing to Mike Richards. He tried a centering feed from the left circle, but the puck deflected off the right skate of Nikitin, into the air and past Bobrovsky. It was Richards' 400th career point.
Boll went off for boarding with under five minutes remaining, but Los Angeles couldn't capitalize on the ensuing power play.
The Blue Jackets caught a break late in the third when Jack Johnson's pass from the left side of the net found its way into the crease. Foligno was in position to get the disc by Bernier, who faced five shots in the final period.
Columbus pulled Bobrovsky for the extra attacker in the final minute and put pressure on the Kings, but most of the shots were deflected away, including two from Nikitin in the waning seconds.
Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov left the game with a lower body injury ... Prior to the game, Columbus activated veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin from injured reserve ... The Kings are 90-1-10 in their last 101 games when leading after two periods (since April 4, 2009) ... The Kings will play at Chicago Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks have yet to suffer a regulation loss this season.
02/16 01:33:58 ET