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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 15th (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-2) at Los Angeles Kings (4-5-2), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Despite putting together their most impressive victory of the season earlier this week, the Columbus Blue Jackets still opted to shake up their front office.
The Blue Jackets will try to impress their new general manager on Friday night as they look for their first winning streak of the season in a clash with the Los Angeles Kings.
Columbus snapped a three-game slide on Monday and won for just the fourth time this season with a solid 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The win wasn't enough to save Scott Howson's job, though, as he was fired the following day and replaced in the GM spot by Jarmo Kekalainen.
Kekalainen, a native of Finland, became the first European general manager in NHL history and had been serving that role with Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League. He had previously worked in St. Louis with current Columbus president John Davidson.
The Blue Jackets are 4-7-2 on the season and their 10 points are tied for the fewest in the Western Conference along with Friday's opponent, the Kings.
Columbus, though, certainly has an impressive win to build off of. Six different skaters scored in Monday's win, with Brandon Dubinsky netting his first goal of the season just 43 seconds in. Dubinsky was one of the players that Howson acquired in the offseason from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Rick Nash.
Cody Goloubef added his first NHL goal, James Wisniewski tallied and Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu matched a franchise record by scoring eight seconds apart during the third period.
Steve Mason made 25 saves and Wisniewski afterwards pointed out the simple contrast from the previous night's 3-1 loss to Edmonton.
"I think the difference between last night and tonight is that we scored goals," said Wisniewski. "We kept going, kept playing our game. Finally our hard work paid off."
Columbus is 1-3-0 as the guest this season and open a six-game road trip. While Wisniewski is not expected to be with the club due to his wife giving birth to the couple's first child, fellow blueliners Adrian Aucoin and John Moore are cleared to return to action from their respective lower body injuries.
Aucoin has missed the past six games, while Moore has sat out the last four.
Despite the GM change, the Blue Jackets' struggles this season aren't a total surprise. However, the defending champion Kings sitting at just 4-5-2 on the season certainly catches the eye.
Los Angeles had lost two straight prior to Monday's 4-1 win over St. Louis and it was only its second victory in six games. Former Blue Jacket Jeff Carter scored twice in the win over the Blues, upping his team-leading total to six.
Davis Drewiske and Jarret Stoll also scored and Jonathan Bernier made 21 saves in his first start and only second appearance of the season.
"I was really happy with our performance today," said Bernier. "We really battled hard out there today and got rewarded for our efforts."
Jonathan Quick had started each of the previous 10 games, going 3-4-2 with a 2.70 goals against average and .891 save percentage.
The Kings did lose blueliner Alec Martinez to an upper body injury in Monday's win and he joins fellow defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene on injured reserve.
The Kings visited the Blue Jackets on Feb. 5 and notched a 4-2 victory, their sixth in the past eight meetings. They have also won four of the past six played at Los Angeles in this series.
02/15 10:36:57 ET