Kings eager to showcase balanced attack when Jackets visit
The Los Angeles Kings don’t have a player in the top 25 in points at this point of the season, but they have one of the deepest lineups in the NHL.
The Kings hope to use that to their advantage when they host the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
With four weeks left in the regular season, the Kings are 6-0-1 in their past seven games and sit three points back of the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles is coming off an impressive 5-2 win against the visiting New York Islanders on Tuesday in which 14 players notched at least one point for the Kings.
“We have to play that way if we want to go deep,” Kings forward Trevor Moore said. “If you look at teams who do go deep, it’s not one or two lines, you need everybody. It’s all six defensemen and it’s all four lines.”
Moore scored his eighth goal of the season against the Islanders for Los Angeles’ fourth goal in a second-period barrage against New York goalie Ilya Sorokin, who came in with the third-best save percentage in the NHL (.926).
Moore missed 16 games between the Christmas and All-Star breaks with an upper-body injury.
“It weighs on you when you don’t get one for a while and then getting hurt, being out for a long time, it feels like maybe you’ll never score again,” Moore said. “Just to be able to get one and know that you can still do it is a nice feeling.”
Moore wasn’t the only Los Angeles player to break out of a scoring drought on Tuesday.
Drew Doughty scored for the first time in 22 games, and Quinton Byfield tallied an empty-netter for his first goal since Jan. 21.
Los Angeles also continues to get solid play from the two players they acquired from the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline last month.
Joonas Korpisalo stopped 26 of 28 shots against the Islanders to improve to 3-0 since he was acquired from the Blue Jackets in exchange for veteran goalie Jonathan Quick.
The other player that came over with Korpisalo, defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, had two assists against New York for his first multi-point game with Los Angeles. He has four points in the past four games overall.
Columbus forward Johnny Gaudreau lit up the San Jose Sharks for five points, including the game-winning overtime goal, in a 6-5 victory on Tuesday to end a four-game losing streak and launch a five-game road trip.
The five points tied a single-game record for the Blue Jackets, most recently accomplished by Artemi Panarin in 2017.
“Five points, that’s a big night for anybody,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “You could see early that he was skating, he had his legs tonight.”
Boone Jenner also continues to play well for Columbus, which entered Wednesday with the fewest points in the NHL (49).
Jenner scored twice against the Sharks to give him 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in the past 21 games.
Blue Jackets center Liam Foudy is beginning to show the skill that made him Columbus’s first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
After failing to score in his first 62 NHL games, Foudy has two goals in the past three games.
–Field Level Media