Game 51; 29-16-6
COLUMBUS - While they swept their season series against the Blue Jackets last season, the Los Angeles Kings knew they were in a lot tougher on Tuesday as they entered Nationwide Arena to face a Columbus team which has won six-straight.
A day after losing in Boston, the Kings got off to the start they wanted. After avoiding another shorthanded goal in as many afternoons, Dwight King got things started, putting his 11th past Sergei Bobrovsky at 2:42 of the first to open the scoring. Trevor Lewis, who has been a lot more productive as of late, picked up the lone assist.
The Jackets, however, bounced back. At 12:47 of the first, RJ Umberger tipped a James Wisniewski shot to knot things up. The goal was a power play goal with former King Jack Johnson picking up the second assist. But Columbus wasn't done there.
With just 58 seconds left in the opening period, Ryan Johansen roared by the Los Angeles defense to put his 19th past Martin Jones to give the home team their first lead of the day.
In the second, the Kings were able to get that one back. At the 8:39 mark, Jeff Carter, on a 3-on-1, took it himself and backhanded his 20th past Bobrovsky to tie the game. Mike Richards picked up the assist. But just when it looked as if the Kings were on the upswing, the Jackets answered.
With just under two minutes remaining in the second, RJ Umberger took a bad angle shot that bounced off Martin Jones's glove and into the net. If that weren't enough, Nathan Horton put Columbus up 4-2 with just 16 seconds remaining in the period. Just like that, the wind was out of the Kings' sails.
After Artem Anisimov made it 5-2 for the Jackets, Robyn Regehr scored his first of the year (and first as a King) to make it 5-3. But that was all the scoring as the Jackets set a new club record with the seventh-straight victory.
Overall, a disappointing effort by the Kings. Falling to 1-2-1 on their current road trip, the silver-and-black looked apathetic despite a surge of confidence every now and then.
Martin Jones didn't have a solid effort but after not playing in 19 days, there was some rust that needed to be shaken off.
If the time difference was a factor for Los Angeles's recent slide, then the good news is that they return to California, starting a home-and-home with the Ducks: first in Anaheim and then the much-anticipated outdoor game on Saturday.
Let's hope for better results then.