The Columbus Blue Jackets will continue their California trip tonight as they take on the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. Coming off a solid team victory on Thursday night in San Jose, the CBJ are looking to keep the intensity going this evening. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 10:30 PM ET.
After two straight solid performances by Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, it’s likely Bob’s back in net again tonight as the club moves on to L.A. Against the Red Wings and Sharks, Bobrovsky allowed a combined two goals on 69 shots- a notable improvement over the rest of the beginning of the season, which saw Bob allow two of fewer goals in a game only once.
It wasn’t all Bobrovsky on Thursday night for the Jackets, however. The team played their best game defensively all season, blocking 30 shots against a potent San Jose offense. The CBJ will need to replicate that effort on a more consistent basis to keep things moving in the right direction.
As up-and-down as the Blue Jackets have been this year, it certainly could be worse as they currently sit at 7-5-0. Tonight’s opponent comes into the contest at 3-8-1, losers of seven of their last eight games.
The Kings, who rank dead last in the National Hockey League in scoring averaging only two goals per game, do have a bright spot in Ilya Kovalchuk. The 35-year-old Russian returned to the NHL this offseason for the first time since 2013 and is leading the Kings in both goals, with four, and points, with ten.
The Jackets, on the other hand, have been clicking for the most part offensively all year. They enter the matchup ranked fourth in the NHL averaging 3.6 goals per game. Through 12 games, the CBJ have four skaters with five or more goals and two with double-digit points.
The Kings will go up against the Jackets offense without their primary goaltender, Jonathan Quick, who recently underwent knee surgery and is on the IR. Advantage CBJ.
Special teams continue to be a sore spot for the Blue Jackets, who have only converted on two of their last 27 opportunities on the power play. Their opponents have scored on the man advantage in four of their last five games. Definitely an area for improvement for the CBJ.
Blue Jackets fans have been taken for a ride so far this season, with the team often putting up stinkers following encouraging performances. Following one of their best games of the season against a struggling squad on the other side, the CBJ have the opportunity to bank another two points on the road. With clocks falling back an hour overnight, Jackets fans in the eastern time zone may have a little extra motivation to check out this matchup.