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.