Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:

 

Game 51 vs. Columbus

 

February 1, 2012

 

7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)

 

 

With the All-Star weekend now in everyone’s rear-view mirror, it’s time to turn our focus to arguably the most important month of the season. Not only will teams be vying for playoff spots but they will spend the next month whether they need to make a trade or two in order to bolster themselves for a solid playoff run. For the Los Angeles Kings, they hope to start February off a winning note and their first test is tomorrow night when they play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

Although the Blue Jackets sit last overall in the NHL standings, they were victorious against the Kings in their last meeting, which was a 1-0 shutout back on January 7 in Los Angeles. The loss gave Darryl Sutter his first regulation defeat as the Los Angeles’ bench boss. After the loss, the Kings picked up points in seven of their next eight games so tomorrow night, they hope to prove that their loss back on the 7th was just what it was: a blip on the radar.

 

As far as Los Angeles’ offensive woes go, they continue to be an issue. In their last meeting, the Kings peppered Curtis Sanford with 31 shots but the Columbus netminder turned away every one of them to pick up the shutout. Jonathan Quick, although he only faced 18 shots, played great that night but it’s unclear whether he will get the start tomorrow night or whether Darryl Sutter will go with Jonathan Bernier instead. After all, Sutter did say that his backup will be seeing more ice time after the all-star break.

 

Tomorrow night will be an interesting test for the Kings as, having not played since the 24th, this will be the longest layoff for them this season. Although Columbus hasn’t played since the 24th either, they do play in San Jose tonight against the Sharks so tomorrow’s meeting will essentially be a battle between the over-rested and the under-rested.

 

With the season series knotted at one win apiece, this is the third of four meetings between the Jackets and Kings. Los Angeles hopes to finally put together a winning streak and hopefully they can take advantage of a squad who have lost four straight and are 3-6-1 in their last ten.

 

The action starts tomorrow at 7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST).

 

Enjoy the game!

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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