Kings vs. Jackets Preview

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Columbus, OH (AP) - Neither the Los Angeles Kings nor the Columbus Blue Jackets are currently in a playoff spot, but both are well within striking distance.

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These teams meet for the third time Wednesday night, with the Kings 7-0-2 in their last nine games and the Blue Jackets winners of five of six.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Kings -115 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 88% of more than 57 bets for this game have been placed on the Kings -115.

Los Angeles (31-22-3) is four points ahead of Columbus (28-23-5), which is 12th in the tightly packed Western Conference but less than 10 points from the No. 4 spot.

The Kings are 4-0-2 on their franchise-record 10-game trip. They have had two days off since two big wins over the weekend, 4-1 over Washington on Saturday and 1-0 over Philadelphia on Sunday.

Jonathan Quick stopped 40 shots and Drew Doughty scored 17 seconds into the second period Sunday. Quick is 6-0-1 with a 1.52 goals-against average in his last seven starts.

"Our goaltending was outstanding," coach Terry Murray said. "There were a lot of plays happening from behind the net, quick bang-bang plays that require incredible focus and concentration. He was right on top of it."

Columbus also has been getting strong goaltending from Steve Mason, 4-1-0 with a 1.61 GAA in his last five starts. The former Calder Trophy winner made 29 saves in Sunday's 2-1 victory at Dallas.

"We're coming into our own, competing hard and sticking to our system," Mason said. "This is huge. This is a team ahead of us in the playoff race. We need as many points as we can get. It's a conference rival, so to get the two points gets us closer to that eighth place."

It will be interesting to see how these teams' goalies fare after high-scoring contests in the first two matchups - both in Los Angeles. Rick Nash scored twice and Mason made 33 saves in Columbus' 5-3 victory Nov. 17 before Jack Johnson matched a career high with three assists in the Kings' 6-4 win Jan. 8.

Doughty amassed five assists in those games, Justin Williams had a goal and an assist in each meeting and Michal Handzus has three points in the season series for Los Angeles. Ryan Smyth scored in each matchup but has no goals in six straight, though he's tied with Williams for the team lead with 19.

Nash has four goals in the season series and Jakub Voracek has three assists for Columbus.

Mason is 4-5-0 with a 3.28 GAA in nine starts against the Kings while backup Mathieu Garon is 3-2-0 with a 3.69 GAA in five starts against them since leaving Los Angeles following 2006-07.

Quick is 5-4-0 with a 2.24 GAA in nine starts against the Blue Jackets while backup Jonathan Bernier has never faced them.

Anze Kopitar ended a 10-game goal drought Saturday. He's got 17 points in his last 13 games against Columbus, with nine in his last six at Nationwide Arena.

"We're on the up slope again," Kopitar said. "It feels way better than the down slope. We just want to stay here and keep going like that."

The Blue Jackets are 0 for 7 on the power play against the Kings this season and have one of the league's worst units at 13.6 percent. Los Angeles has killed off 26 of its opponents' last 27 chances.

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