NHL

Clitsome's goal halps Blue Jackets beat Kings 1-0

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LOS ANGELES (AP)

Curtis Sanford made 31 saves for his sixth career shutout, defenseman Grant Clitsome ended a 22-game goal drought, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 Saturday.

Sanford started back-to-back games for the first time since a 12-game stretch from Nov. 17 through Dec. 10 when coach Scott Arniel benched Steve Mason. The shutout was Sanford's first since Dec. 28, 2008 against Ottawa while playing for the Vancouver Canucks.

The Kings' Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots, two nights after beating Phoenix 1-0. Los Angeles, which has scored a league-low 90 goals, was held to fewer than three in regulation for the 19th time in 21 games and shut out for the fifth time this season.

Despite averaging 34.6 shots on net in their last 16 contests, they have averaged only 1.6 goals during that stretch and are 3 for 61 on the power play. The loss was their first in regulation since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as coach (5-1-3).

The Blue Jackets came in at the bottom of the overall NHL standings with a 10-24-5 record and 25 points, 18 fewer than they had through their first 39 games last season. They will take on Anaheim Sunday night, trying overtake the Ducks in the race to avoid the league's worst overall record - and win back-to-back games for only the second time all season.

Columbus had only eight shots on net before Clitsome scored at 11:25 of the second period for his fourth goal, the most among Blue Jackets defensemen. He got a cross-ice pass in the left circle from Derick Brassard and beat Quick to the stick side with a one-timer from 25 feet, just 6 seconds after the Kings killed off a hooking penalty against Kyle Clifford.

The Blue Jackets equaled a season high with six power play opportunities of their own, but came up empty against the league's second-best penalty-killing unit. Columbus is 0 for 15 over their last six games after going 4 for 6 in a 6-5 loss at Nashville on Dec. 22. The Kings have killed off 34 consecutive power plays, and their opponents are 3 for 82 with the man advantage over the last 21 contests.

The second period ended with Columbus' Samuel Pahlsson getting delayed minor penalties for tripping and cross-checking, giving the Kings a 4-minute power play to start the third. A slashing penalty to Marc Methot gave them a two-man advantage for 38 seconds, but they came up empty and finished a season-worst 0 for 8 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Clitsome's goal was his first since Nov. 10, when he scored twice in a 6-3 home loss to Chicago. ... Kings LW Dustin Penner, who has only two goals in his first 30 games, did not play due to an upper body injury. Los Angeles is 7-4-1 when he's been out of the lineup and 13-11-6 when he's suited up. ... Columbus LW Ryan Russell made his NHL debut, starting on a checking line with Pahlsson and RW Derek Dorsett, and also was used on the penalty-killing unit.

Tagged: Curtis Sanford, Kings, Blue Jackets, Grant Clitsome

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