Kings edge Blue Jackets

By
Updated: February 16, 2013

Jonathan Bernier stopped 12 of the 13 shots
he faced, and the Los Angeles Kings held off the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1,
at Staples Center.

Kyle Clifford and Mike Richards netted the goals for the Kings, who have put
together back-to-back wins for the second time this season.

“I felt good from the get-go. It’s hard to stay focused when they’re not
shooting much on goal,” Bernier said. “We didn’t give up much tonight. We
found a way to win.”

The Blue Jackets, who lost for the sixth time in eight contests, played their
first game since making a major move in the front office. Earlier this week,
the team fired general manager Scott Howson and named Jarmo Kekalainen as his
replacement.

Nick Foligno scored with 2:25 left in regulation. Sergei Bobrovsky made 20
saves in defeat.

“We didn’t win a lot of battles tonight,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said.
“We spent too much time in the defensive zone. We didn’t have the full
commitment for 60 minutes.”

Clifford poked the puck free from Columbus defenseman Nikita Nikitin along the
left boards in the neutral zone. Clifford darted up the ice with a 2-on-1
break with teammate Trevor Lewis, but wristed the puck from the left circle
above Bobrovsky’s pad and below his glove with 1:20 left in the second period.

The defending Stanley Cup champions doubled their edge thanks to a 2-man
advantage tally 1:34 into the third period. With Jared Boll (roughing) and
Fedor Tyutin (holding) in the penalty box, Anze Kopitar raced up the ice with
the puck before dishing to Mike Richards. He tried a centering feed from the
left circle, but the puck deflected off the right skate of Nikitin, into the
air and past Bobrovsky. It was Richards’ 400th career point.

Boll went off for boarding with under five minutes remaining, but Los Angeles
couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing power play.

The Blue Jackets caught a break late in the third when Jack Johnson’s pass
from the left side of the net found its way into the crease. Foligno was in
position to get the disc by Bernier, who faced five shots in the final period.

Columbus pulled Bobrovsky for the extra attacker in the final minute and put
pressure on the Kings, but most of the shots were deflected away, including
two from Nikitin in the waning seconds.

Game Notes

Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov left the game with a lower body injury …
Prior to the game, Columbus activated veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin from
injured reserve … The Kings are 90-1-10 in their last 101 games when leading
after two periods (since April 4, 2009) … The Kings will play at Chicago
Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks have yet to suffer a regulation loss this
season.