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Saturday, January 7, 2012
Kings: Columbus takes 1-0 lead on Clitsome goal

By Dan Arritt

After the 2nd period:

Columbus Blue Jackets 1, Kings 0

The good: Kings defenseman Jack Johnson returned for the second period after gingerly skating off the ice late in the first. They’ll need him at the start of the third, as the Kings will be on the power play the first four minutes after Sammy Pahlsson committed back-to-back tripping and cross-checking penalties in the closing seconds, and the Kings managed to hold onto the puck until the horn. They are overdue for a power-play goal, getting one in their last 27 man-advantage situations. They’re 0-for-4 today. The penalty-kill unit wiped out their 33rd and 34th consecutive penalties in the period. The first was killed thanks to a nice block by defenseman Drew Doughty on a cross-ice pass that appeared destined for an open attacker on the opposite side. The Kings held the Blue Jackets without a shot on goal for the first half of the period. The second half was another story.

The bad: The Kings also managed to kill a couple of their own penalties. Kyle Clifford has been doing an admirable job of policing the Blue Jackets whenever they start jabbing at the Kings, but he went off for an ill-advised hooking penalty in his offensive zone with 14 seconds left on a power play. As stated above, the Kings killed that penalty, but before they could get control of the puck Derrick Brassard slid a cross-ice pass by the feet of Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell and onto the waiting blade of Grant Clitsome, who scored before goalie Jonathan Quick could slide over.

The in between: This matinee continues to have the feel of a real slobberknocker. Kevin Westgarth and Jared Boll squared off for a nice heavyweight bout, with both landing heavy rights. Westgarth is in the lineup because Dustin Penner was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury. Good thing he's around because the Blue Jackets are quite chippy today.