Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Los Angeles Kings Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 5th 2023


The Los Angeles Kings’ opening road success is nearing historic levels.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets have fared pretty well at home of late.

The Kings can tie the NHL record by winning their 10th consecutive road game to open a season, while also trying to keep the Blue Jackets from a fourth victory in five at home on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles has outscored its opponents 42-15 while going 9-0-0 on the road. That’s tied with the 2009-10 New Jersey Devils for the second-longest road winning streak to open a campaign. The Buffalo Sabres own the NHL record of 10 consecutive road wins to begin the 2006-07 season.

It’s a mark well within reach for the Kings, who have won 14 of their first 21 games overall. They’ve notched at least four goals and opened the scoring in all but one of those nine road contests.

“The quicker you can establish your game on the road … you want to get it done,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “We’re having a little more success with it this year. We work hard to get the lead, and then we do our thing.”

Los Angeles, however, allowed the first goal Sunday at home versus Colorado, but promptly scored four unanswered en route to its sixth victory in seven games, 4-1.

Quinton Byfield scored twice and Anze Kopitar became the Kings’ all-time leader in assists with No. 758 on Sunday.

“We’re so lucky to have (Kopitar) because he’s such a good teaching tool for everybody,” McLellan said of the 18-year NHL veteran.

“You watch him do it right over and over again, and you can’t help yourself but to emulate it.”

Kopitar has posted six goals with five assists while registering at least a point in each of Los Angeles’ nine road games. He’s also totaled 20 goals and 19 assists in 43 career games versus Columbus, which has lost three of its past four meetings with the Kings.

However, the Blue Jackets have totaled 18 goals during their current 3-1-0 home stretch. They’ll play three of the next four at home, and look to bounce back after failing to hold a 1-0 lead through two periods of Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Boston.

“I think we’ve got to use (the momentum when we have it),” said Columbus’ Boone Jenner, who scored his team-leading 13th goal.

“Be on our toes, get to our forecheck right away, (but) we weren’t able to do that.”

Jenner has scored in back-to-back games, and has six goals with three assists in the past nine contests. However, he’s posted just one point in his past four games against the Kings.

Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins owns a 2.42 goal-against average while winning three of his past five starts. Meanwhile, teammate Spencer Martin made 25 saves Sunday in dropping to 2-6-0 as a starter this season.

Los Angeles’ Cam Talbot ranks among the NHL leaders in wins (11), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.930), and has stopped 121 of the 128 shots he’s faced during a current 4-1-0 stretch.

Backup Pheonix Copley has saved 48 of 49 shots and posted a shutout in winning his past two starts for the Kings.

Byfield has recorded two goals and nine assists during a seven-game road point streak.

– Field Level Media

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