The Kings have lost leading scorer Ziggy Palffy for the rest of the season because of a dislocated shoulder, placing a premium on playing sound defensive hockey.
The Kings also have slid from having one of the best goals-against averages in the league to one of the worst, a trend that needs to stop if they expect to keep alive their playoff hopes.
“Our goalies need to stop a few more pucks,” Coach Andy Murray said. “Our defense has to move a few more pucks effectively out of our zone.”
Goaltender Roman Cechmanek was erratic Thursday in his first start since aggravating a bruised hip Dec. 20. Cechmanek had 25 saves in the Kings’ 3-1 loss to Vancouver.
Cechmanek, 12-11-2 with a .905 save percentage, has struggled at times with soft goals, a byproduct of his unorthodox, flopping style.
“I think his style has added about 10 years to my life, which I don’t need right now,” Murray said jokingly.
vs. Columbus, 7:30, Fox Sports Net
Site -- Staples Center.
Radio -- KSPN (710).
Records -- Kings 16-14-7-4, Blue Jackets 11-23-4-3.
Record vs. Blue Jackets (2002-03) -- 0-3-0-1.
Update -- The Blue Jackets have the fewest points in the Western Conference but defeated one of the league’s hottest teams, San Jose, in overtime Thursday, 3-2. Columbus left wing Rick Nash has a league-high 24 goals.
-- Mike Bresnahan