Kopitar Hat Trick Leads Kings To Win Over Blue Jackets

The Kings won the season series, 3-1

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Kings Beat Blue Jackets, 4-2

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Anze Kopitar registered his second career hat trick as the Los Angeles Kings held off the tumbling Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2, at Nationwide Arena. Justin Williams scored a goal and had two assists, while Drew Doughty chipped in two helpers for the Kings, who won their second straight game and improved to 6-2-1 over the last nine games. Jonathan Bernier turned aside 32-of-34 shots for the victors.

Scottie Upshall and Derick Brassard tallied for the Blue Jackets, who continue to tumble out of playoff contention with a seven-game losing streak. Steve Mason surrendered four goals on 22 shots. "It's been seven games that we have come up short with four or five games (losing) by one goal," Brassard said. "We did a good push at the end, we took a lot of penalties in the second and it broke the flow of the game and it's pretty hard to kill penalties in the game and we show up with emotion in the third and we came up short again."

Kopitar scored two first period goals to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. His first came at the 8:08 mark when Jack Johnson's wrister from the bottom of the right circle was initially blocked by Mason, but he picked up the rebound and fed Kopitar's far side tap in. Columbus knotted it at one with 8:12 left in the first on Upshall's snap shot from the right circle. LA, though, regained the lead 3 1/2 minutes later on Kopitar's deflection of Doughty's shot from the right point.

Kopitar's hooking penalty at the midway point of the second actually set up his third goal of the game. Coming out of the penalty box, the 23-year-old collected a Dustin Brown breakout pass at center ice. He then deked around Mason and stuffed the forehand shot to go in front, 3-1. "(Anze Kopitar) had a very strong game to follow up a real good game at Detroit," LA head coach Terry Murray said. "I really like his strength with the puck, carrying the puck behind the net on the goal, under pressure gets it back on top and drives to the net looking for good things to happen."

The Jackets cut their deficit to one, 3-2, when Brassard chipped in a backside rebound with 8:30 left to play. However, the Kings iced the game with 1:34 remaining after Williams finished a 2-on-1 rush. The Kings won the season series, 3-1...Columbus fell to 16-14-3 as the host this season...LA finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Blue Jackets were blanked in three chances.

 

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.

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Kings Continue Road Trip In Columbus Against Blue Jackets

(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to put the brakes on a six-game losing streak when they host the Los Angeles Kings this evening at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets have greatly damaged their postseason chances with their recent 0-3-3 slide and they are currently eight points behind Los Angeles for eighth in the Western Conference.

The Kings, meanwhile, are coming off a solid victory over the Detroit Red Wings and have a 5-2-1 mark over their last eight contests. The Blue Jackets, who have made the postseason just once since entering the league in 2000, were handed their two most recent losses after getting swept in a home-and-home series with St. Louis.

The Blues recorded a 5-4 shootout victory on home ice this past Monday and then notched an overtime win two days later in Columbus. Chris Stewart scored his second goal of the game 54 seconds into OT to lead St. Louis to the 4-3 win at Nationwide Arena. Jakub Voracek, R.J. Umberger and Derek MacKenzie notched the goals for the Blue Jackets, who have lost every game during this six-game slide by a single goal. Columbus netminder Mathieu Garon made 22 saves in defeat.

"For about 33 minutes, we did everything we wanted to do, we played hard, created chances, had some opportunities and scored some goals," Columbus head coach Scott Arniel said. "For the remaining 27 minutes, we stopped playing. We got careless and got away from what we were doing right in the first half of the game."

Columbus has a 16-13-3 record as the host this season and had won two straight on home ice before Wednesday's tilt against the Blues. Los Angeles recorded a 4-3 shootout win over the hosting Blue Jackets when the clubs met last on Feb. 16. The Kings have taken two of three from Columbus this year and have five victories in the last six encounters overall. LA has also won two straight and four of its last six tests in the Buckeye State.

The Kings halted a two-game slide and began a four-game road trip with a win Wednesday night in Detroit. Jonathan Quick made 28 saves to help give Los Angeles the 2-1 regulation victory at Joe Louis Arena. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown each had a goal for the Kings, who improved to 17-14-3 as the road club this season. "Every point is huge now so to come into this building and get a win is a huge accomplishment," said Kopitar. "But we can't sit on this and we have a bunch of tough games ahead of us."

Quick is expected to get the start in net for Los Angeles, but it's uncertain if Garon or Steve Mason will be between the pipes for the Blue Jackets.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.

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