Game No. 14- CBJ @ LAK
The Cali trip continues with the Los Angeles Kings in the Staples Center. The Jackets are fresh off a win against the Sharks on Tuesday night, while the Kings blanked the St. Louis Blues in Missouri.
This is the first time these teams meet this year, and the Kings were filled with offseason changes after missing the playoffs. Robyn Regher retired; Slava Voynov deported back to Russia; Mike Rochards got bought out; and Martin Jones got traded to Boston, and then to San Jose. Bryan O'Neill was dealt to New Jersey. Jarret Stoll (NYR), Andrej Sekera (EDM), and Justin Willams (WSH) left L.A. through unrestricted free agency. Also, Jean-Francois Beurbe was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders. They added Milan Lucic as a result of the Martin Jones summer blockbuster; veteran net minders Jonas Enroth and Peter Budaj to replace the loss of their young netminders; and signed Christian Ehrhoff, who almost signed with the Jackers this summer, but went to a more competitive team in California.
As for the Columbus Blue Jackets, lineup changes keep continuing as a result of injuries. Alex Wennberg arrived in California to join the team, and is a game-time decision. Also, David Clarkson has been placed on the injured reserve (IR) with a back injury suffered in the Sharks game on Tuesday. Because of this unfortunate injury, Kerby Rychel is back on the main roster for the time being.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner – Brandon Dubinsky – Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert – Ryan Johansen – Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell – William Karlsson – Mike Foligno
Gregory Campbell - Alexander Wennberg – Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Ryan Murray – Fedor Tyutin
Kevin Connauton – Dalton Prout
Scratched: Rene Bourque, Kerby Rychel, Cody Goloubef
Injuries: David Clarkson (back)
Los Angeles Kings
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Milan Lucic – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Andy Andreoff – Jordan Nolan
Brayden McNabb – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Christian Ehrhoff – Jamie McBain
Injured: Matt Greene (upper body), Dwight King (foot)
Scratched: Derek Forbort, Jordan Weal
Things to Watch
1. Ex-Blue Jackets. This Kings team has a couple of pure snipers through a couple of trades including Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik. Carter last year played great on the "70s line" with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli (current leading goal scorer) [9 goals]. Gaborik seemed to find a great linemate during their previous cup run with Anze Kopatar. Expect them to get the attention of their former club.
2. Slow Start. Both teams have had a mentality of starting the season and games off usually with a goal against them in the early goings. However scores first may win the game tonight.
3. Goalie Battle. Both starters are sensationally talented. Sergei Bobrovsky won the Veznia Trophy in the lockout year, and Jonathan Quick won the Conne Smythe Trophy (and only being the 3rd American born player to win this trophy).
4. Low-Scoring. The Kings have a great defensive system because of head coach Daryl Sutter, and a great defenseman in the name of Drew Doughty (drafted 2nd overall in 2008) to help the Kings out. John Tortorella's system seems to have been working as of late as he really likes block-shooting defensemen, and forwards that work in both ends. And with the low-scoring games that have been occurring lately, it seems that his system might be working. And if that is the case, expect some major upsets and more victories coming to the Jackets soon.
5. Continuing Feud? This scenario played out for these to players last season in Boston. Obliviously I'm talking about Milan Lucic from Los Angeles. Last December, Lucic and Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout got into an altercation, and Prout sucker-punched Milan Lucic and did not receive a penalty. The next game they played was in Columbus-and it was a game I attended- Milan Lucic and Dalton Prout dropped the gloves in a very good fight. The Columbus crowd went electric and the final score of that game was 6-2 for Columbus. If this feud continues, this may become a very high energy game in Los Angeles.
Players to Watch
Going along with the Instagram pictures the Jackets have posted, my players to watch are Ryan Murray for Columbus and Drew Doughty for Los Angeles. The reasoning is simple. These two young defensemen are carrying their teams' destinies on their backs. If these two fault at any point in the game or in the season, it may be a disaster for their respective clubs.
Murray has been on a hot streak lately- having 5 points in 5 games. Besides that, he had 2 points in the first 8 games. Drew Doughty had 6 points in his last 5 games. Besides that, he had 2 points in his first 7 games.
Enjoy the games tonight. More to come...