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Kings Obliterate Blue Jackets
The Kings used a bad Columbus Blue Jackets team to shore up some of the deficiencies they’ve had in the last couple of games and in the process notched their third shutout of the season 6-0 in front of 17,524.
“When you get into these kinds of games in the remaining part of the season, it’s always about the checking, defensive structure that your show and holding teams to a fewer number of shots,” head coach Terry Murray said after the game.
The Kings did just that holding the team who in the last nine games scored the first goal in the game to just 11 shots on goal.
“That was the most important part of the game for me,” Murray said of the defense.
On the offensive side Murray started Wayne Simmonds, Michal Handzus and Fredrik Modin which paid off with Simmonds scoring his first goal since February 4 against the Anaheim Ducks to put the Kings up 1-0 5:49 into the game.
“He really showed a lot of explosive speed on that play,” Murray said about Simmonds’ goal. “He looks like a really good player right now playing with [Handzus] and Modin.”
Being the energetic sort Simmonds also mixed it with Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore resulting in both players getting two minute roughing penalties to set up four-on-four action. The Kings took advantage with 19 seconds left in the penalities with Drew Doughty scoring a goal at 13:24 assisted by Handzus and Alexander Frolov.
The Blue Jackets then lost their composure. Their captain Steve Nash got hit with a four minute high stick double minor penalty at 14:01 in the period which led to a Handzus goal 37 seconds later and an Frolov goal 1:18 later.
“That was embarrassing,” Blue Jackets forward RJ Umberger said. “We didn’t play smart. We are our own worst enemies out there. We didn’t play smart hockey.”
With this scoring blitz the Kings held the Blue Jackets to three shots on goal, but then it helps to spend about a third of a period with a man advantage.
“I think we played as well as we could have,” Blue Jackets interim head coach Claude Noel said. “That’s a good team. We lost players and were depleted. If you lose two of your top scorers with not much offense to begin with, it’s no surprise you lose.”
The Kings didn’t let up in the second period holding the Jackets to only two shots on goal and adding a power play goal at 4:20 by Modin against the team he played for until Wednesday and an even handed goal by Brad Richardson 9:46 to ride to a 6-0 lead. Modin has scored a goal in two consecutive games for the Kings in just three games played and four overall in the season. By the second period the Kings had already spent more than half a period with a man advantage.
“It’s always nice when you get the chance to score against your old team,” Modin said.
Frolov in this game joined Doughty, Johnson, Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth as players who have had four points in the season.
“If you want to have success in the power play you have to shoot and shoot as much as you can and as often as you can,” Frolov on the team’s power play success tonight. “That’s what we tried to do tonight - to put the puck in the net.
“It was a really good team effort.”
“He was showing a complete game here tonight,” Murray said of Frolov’s game. “Lots of speed - I like to see that.”
The Kings continued to show the effort on the defensive end limiting the Blue Jackets to six shots in the final period despite having to go on the penalty kill four times.
“Mentally it can be a bit of a battle to stay focused a full 60 minutes,” goalie Jonathan Quick said. “But the team played great the whole game. We took a couple of penalties here at the end, but our penality killing unit played great and it was real easy for me.”
The Kings now head to Chicago to play the Central Division leader Blackhawks and their high octane offense.
“That’s the checking part of the game that we’ve got to be really good at,” Murray said. “There can be no risk or gamble - try to make them do the checking in their end. If we make those right decisions through the middle of the ice and get it in behind their [defense]. Make them play a checking game. That will give us an opportunity.”
Notes: Their four-goal first period tied their largest scoring outburst in a period this season which occurred on November 5 against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Six different Kings players scored goals for the Kings.
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Columbus Blue Jackets at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.