Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Kings 1
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets two weeks earlier, Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson scored what turned out to be the winning goal Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena in Columbus, Ohio, lifting the league’s worst team to its fourth consecutive victory.
THE STAT: The Kings can’t seem to win the games they're supposed to win. They had an opportunity to move back into the top eight in the Western Conference standings with a victory, but instead fell to 9-9-3 against the other bottom eight teams.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied 1-1 in the final minute of the first period, Johnson jumped into the play, located a loose puck in the high slot and shot it past Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier with 8.5 seconds remaining. It was Johnson’s second goal in two games and marked the first time in his career he has hit double digits in goals.
HOT: Kings right wing Dustin Brown made a beautiful pass to Anze Kopitar for a short-handed goal that tied the score 1-1 with 7:38 remaining in the opening period. Brown has points in six consecutive games, his longest points streak since he scored in seven straight in December 2010. The Kings have also killed 23 straight penalties.
NOT: Kings center Mike Richards tweeted a few hours before the game that he was bothered by some loud vacuuming outside his hotel room door all afternoon, which likely interrupted his pregame nap. Richards has been snoozing on offense for most of the past month, failing to score a goal for the 22nd straight game.
GOOD MOVE: While Brown has been the team’s best offensive player lately, he hasn’t forgotten his physical game. He softened up the Blue Jackets with 10 hits while earning his most ice time in a month (20:56).
BAD MOVE: The Blue Jackets scored their third goal when Bernier gave up a rebound and both Rob Scuderi and Kyle Clifford failed to see the puck lying in front of the crease. Mark Letestu saw it, moved in and scored his second goal of the game with just less than 17 minutes remaining in the second period.
NOTABLE: The Blue Jackets lost two players to injury during the game. Starting goalie Steve Mason suffered a cut on his hand when he collided with the skate of teammate John Moore during the second period. Mason returned to the bench after receiving treatment. Right wing Derek Dorsett was knocked from the game in the second period because of an upper-body injury and did not return.
UP NEXT: Friday at Detroit, 4:30 p.m. PT.