Blue Jackets, Kings both on a roll

BY foxsports • October 25, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- After a sluggish start, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is pleased with the way his club has responded the past two games.

"We're coming together," Tortorella told NHL.com. "We all play together, we're all on the same page and we (have) each other's back."

The Blue Jackets open a three-game West Coast swing at Staples Center on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blue Jackets (2-2-0) fell to Boston 6-3 and to San Jose 3-2 to open the season before recording triumphs in their last two outings, a 3-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars on Saturday being their latest victory.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 32 shots he faced and recorded his 100th win against the Stars. Bobrovsky has started all four games, posting a 2.28 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.

"The guy has been everything the Blue Jackets need him to be and more, and while we're only four games into the season, he is a big reason why the team is 2-2-0 and heading to California with positive vibes after two consecutive wins over quality opponents," Tortorella said, according to NHL.com.

The Blue Jackets also have gotten solid play on penalty kills. They have been successful 93.8 percent of the time playing shorthanded, which is currently fifth best in the NHL.

The Kings (2-3-0) also have come up winners in their past two games despite being forced to shuffle goaltenders. After Jonathan Quick went down with a significant groin injury that could sideline him for three months in the opener at San Jose, his backup, Jeff Zatkoff, was scratched after sustaining a lesser injury to his groin in the team's skate-around Saturday morning. Zatkoff, though, is expected to only miss a week.

Instead, Peter Budaj made 22 saves in his 300th NHL game in a 4-3 shootout win over the Canucks, handing them their first defeat of the season. Budaj is only the second Slovakia-born goaltender to accomplish the feat, joining Jaroslav Halak (371 games).

"I just want to take it one game at a time," said Budaj, who has compiled a 2.46 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage in two wins. "I know it's a cliche and you guys probably hate it when players say that, but it is true. You just want to look up one game ahead, and that's what you want to look at. We won (Saturday), we're very happy, but we've just got to regroup, come back to work."

Tanner Pearson scored the only goal in the shootout.

Pearson, who scored a first-period goal against the Canucks, leads the Kings with five points (four goals, one assist) in three games. Pearson sat out the Kings' first two losses due to a suspension.

Los Angeles also has gotten key contributions from Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Alec Martinez, each of whom has registered a goal and three assists.

Zach Werenski is the Blue Jackets' top scorer with two goals and three assists. Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg have delivered a goal and three assists apiece.



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