(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings had no trouble at home last year when facing the Columbus Blue Jackets. Given that the Kings are off to their best home start in club history, the Blue Jackets figure to have their hands full again tonight.
Los Angeles seeks its ninth straight victory at the Staples Center to begin the season as it battles Columbus, which kicks off a three-game road trip tonight.
A perfect five-game homestand from Oct. 30-Nov. 13, a residency in which the Kings allowed just six total goals while scoring at least three times in four of the five games, gave Los Angeles a six-game winning streak heading into Monday's Pacific Division showdown with San Jose. LA, though, struggled against the three-time reigning division champs and dropped a 6-3 decision.
"They just beat us here tonight," Kings head coach Terry Murray told his team's website. "They beat us in the transition game. Our management of the puck, from the red line to the top of the circle in the offensive zone is what killed us. They rammed it right down our throats every time we tried to do something too much with the puck."
Los Angeles still leads the Pacific Division and Western Conference with 24 points and will try to improve on its 8-0-0 home mark before hitting the road again for four straight.
Jarret Stoll scored the 99th goal of his career, Ryan Smyth also tallied and Scott Parse logged a goal before suffering a hip injury that will require surgery and sideline the forward for three-to-four weeks. Parse missed the first 11 games this season due to a groin ailment.
Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves and Justin Williams recorded an assist to run his points streak to a career-best 10 games (6 goals, 6 assists). Stoll has three goals and six helpers over a seven-game run.
Los Angeles had a string of 22 straight penalty kills broken in the loss to the Sharks, but remains the only team to have not allowed a power-play goal at home this season, killing off all 31 chances.
Jonathan Quick is slated to return to net for the Kings tonight and he has won seven straight starts. His 10-1-0 record is best in club history after 11 starts, breaking Robb Stauber's 9-1-1 mark in 1992-93.
Los Angeles outscored Columbus, 12-2, in winning both meetings at the Staples Center last year. The Kings won three of four overall in last year's series and owns eight victories in the Blue Jackets' last 12 trips to LA.
Coming off an 8-1 victory over St. Louis last Wednesday, Columbus lost for just the third time in nine games on Friday with a 5-1 setback versus Colorado. Antoine Vermette scored the lone goal and Steve Mason made 24 saves.
"It's frustrating. You win one game and the next game you come out with an effort like this," said Mason. "We had a game plan coming in and we just got away from it and they capitalized on their chances. At the end of the day we are just not doing our jobs."
Center Derick Brassard had his career-high eight-game point streak halted in the loss for the Blue Jackets, who played without captain Rick Nash due to a lower-body injury. Nash, tied for the team lead with six goals, practiced on Tuesday and is expected to play tonight, as is defenseman Mike Commodore for the first time in 14 games because of a left thumb injury.