LA Kings beat Columbus 2-1, take step toward playoff spot

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phillip Danault scored his career-high 24th goal, Dustin Brown also scored in the first period and the Los Angeles Kings took a big step toward a playoff berth with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the third-place Kings in just their second win in six games. The Kings couldn’t find the net again after their two first-period goals despite outshooting the Jackets 38-22, but their lead stood up.

Los Angeles is in a three-year playoff drought, but its chances of holding off Vegas for the third postseason spot in the Pacific Division improved earlier Saturday with Edmonton’s victory over fourth-place Vegas.

By beating Columbus in the evening, the Kings opened a three-point lead over the Golden Knights, who have one game in hand. Los Angeles' final five games are all against teams currently out of the playoff picture.

Sean Kuraly scored in the second period and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 36 shots for the Blue Jackets, who opened their three-game California road trip by losing in regulation for only the second time in six games.

The Jackets were formally eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day with Washington’s 8-4 victory over Montreal. Columbus has missed the postseason in two straight seasons after earning four consecutive playoff berths.

Brown scored just 1:41 after the opening faceoff, converting a pass from Blake Lizotte on a 2-on-1 rush. The former Los Angeles captain hadn't scored a goal since March 6, shortly before he missed 14 games in a monthlong injury absence.

Danault doubled the Kings' lead later in the first with a sharp setup from Viktor Arvidsson. The goal was Danault's ninth point in nine games.

Kuraly trimmed LA's lead early in the second when Ohio native Carson Meyer elevated a setup pass from behind the net over Quick and right down onto Kuraly's stick for a goal in the center's return from a two-game injury absence.

Andreas Athanasiou returned from a 17-game absence since mid-March with an upper-body injury for the Kings.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: At Ducks on Sunday.

Kings: At Ducks on Tuesday.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Greg Beacham, The Associated Press

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting