(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings hope to avoid their longest losing streak in over three years this evening as they continue what has so far been a winless homestand at Staples Center versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Kings have struggled defensively over a season-worst five-game slide, including losses in the first four games of an eight-game residency. Los Angeles' skid began with a 6-3 loss in Phoenix and it has since been outscored 17-9 on the homestand.
Jarret Stoll and Kyle Clifford scored the first two goals of Thursday's game versus Nashville, but the Predators scored the next five goals in a 5-2 decision. Jonathan Bernier posted 23 saves in the loss. "It's a big concern that we've given up 23 goals in five games," Kings head coach Terry Murray said. "We haven't been able to get the job done."
The Kings will try to avoid dropping six in a row for the first time since an eight-game slide from Dec. 13-26, 2007 and will look to Anze Kopitar for a solid effort. The forward had two assists in Thursday's loss, giving him 201 in his career, and has eight goals and 16 points in 15 career games versus the Blue Jackets. Jonathan Quick should get the call in net and is 4-4-0 with a 2.02 goals- against average versus the Blue Jackets.
Columbus did post a 5-3 victory in Los Angeles back on Nov. 17, getting two third-period goals from Rick Nash and 33 saves by Steve Mason to snap a three- game series losing streak. Quick made 21 saves in the loss.
Neither Nash or Mason could get Columbus its first victory on its current road trip last night, falling 6-0 in Anaheim. Mason yielded four goals on 24 shots before being replaced by Mathieu Garon in the third period. Garon was dented for two goals on five shots. Columbus is 0-3-0 on a four-game road trip and has lost 10 of its last 11 on the road.
"They capitalized on their power play and we didn't capitalize on ours," said Nash. "Their PK did the job and we couldn't get the job done. You have to work hard, you get good opportunities in this league. You have to play the system right and do the right things if you want to get chances, and tonight we didn't." Nash has 12 goals and 11 assists in 27 career games versus the Kings. Mason is 4-5-0 with a 3.28 GAA in his career versus Los Angeles, while Garon is 4-2-0 with a 2.90 GAA lifetime against the club.
For more Kings news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Jewels From The Crown.