Kings make a statement in Columbus

There are often four or five identifiable games that help shape the narrative of a hockey season.

Tuesday night's game seemed to be one of those for the Kings, at least upon further review, after they had some time to mull their impressive come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It would have been easy to say, ‘Oh it was the third game in four nights,’” said Kings center Anze Kopitar on Wednesday. “We had a bunch of excuses laid out for us on the table. Last night, it seemed we weren’t going to take no for an answer.”

There was another consistent thread. The word "character" came up several times on Tuesday and Wednesday. These were the sort of games in which the Kings fell short frequently last season, especially on the road.

“Sometimes that’s going to happen,” Kopitar said. “I think that’s a really big character win for this hockey club. Last year, we would have just packed it in and come up a little bit short. This time around we got it done all the way.

“It’s a challenge regardless of travel. We’ve said that before. It’s close to impossible maintaining [our] style [of play] for 82 games. Usually there’s 10 games in the season where you’re just not feeling good and that was the one last night.”

Only a handful of players took part in an optional session at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday afternoon. Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said that forward Michael Mersch is expected to join them for a full practice on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

The roster move to bring Mersch in from their minor-league affiliate in Ontario is being made because of injuries to forwards Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford.

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