LOS ANGELES — Carl Grundstrom had four goals, one goal and one assist in Los Angeles’ second half, Pheonix Copley made 30 saves and the Kings defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 Thursday night.
Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson also scored to help the Kings improve to 7-0-1 in their last eight games.
“We just have to stick to the game plan. If we get away from that, we’re going to have problems and I think the guys have bought into it now and are ready to play it and we’ll handle it just fine,” Doughty said.
Kirill Marchenko scored for Columbus. Daniil Tarasov was drawn in the second half after allowing four goals with 27 shots and Michael Hutchinson made nine saves in relief. The Blue Jackets lost five out of six.
After dominating the first period but having nothing to show for themselves, the Kings finally rose to Doughty’s fifth season early in the second. He used skillful stock handling to get into the slot before using his own rebound, admittedly exploiting a side of his game he had to suppress for team success.
“I used to do this all the time when I was younger,” Doughty said. “I put it on hold for a long time. … I need to play a good two-way game and yes, maybe I should do it more often.”
PHOTOS: Kings use a strong second third to beat Blue Jackets 4-1
Kopitar made it 2-0 less than three minutes later, and that was enough for the Kings to get off to a 2-0-1 start at their seven-game home stadium.
Copley almost scored his second shutout of the season while bringing his record to an improbable 21-4-3 in 31 games. Neither Copley nor Joonas Korpisalo have conceded more than two goals in the seven games since the Kings dealt franchise icon Jonathan Quick to the Blue Jackets on Feb. 28. A day after joining Columbus, Quick was traded to Vegas.
The Kings have been 12-2-2 since returning from the All-Star hiatus. They are unbeaten in nine home games during this period, with their only loss coming in a penalty shootout against Nashville on Saturday.
“Four lines and three pairs of defenders are committed to making things right,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan. “I look at the goal we gave up tonight, we did everything we wanted to do or needed to do. Have gone from the referee’s foot into the slot and they have scored, so these are built into (playoff) games or series and you must be able to overcome them. Just full commitment to what we do.”
Doughty credited Grundstrom’s fourth-line development, center Rasmus Kupari and forward Arthur Kaliyev for contributing to the Kings’ recent success, with Grundstrom emerging as a driving force at both ends of the ice.
“He’s come a long way,” McLellan said. “His goal is a prime example. He shoots, he shoots a puck, he wins a fight, he rolls out and shoots again. Simple, straightforward, powerful.”
NOT HIS FAULT
Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said Tarasov was not at fault for any of the first three goals he conceded and caught a bad break on the fourth when a Columbus player lost his racquet in the build-up.
“We put him in bad positions. I felt sorry for him because he deserved better,” said Larsen.
The Kings also scored four goals in the second half in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. It was the fourth time in franchise history that Los Angeles had scored four goals in the second half in consecutive games. … Columbus goalkeeper Elvis Merzlikins has missed his third straight game as he stays in Latvia to be with his grandmother.
Blue Jackets: Friday night in Anaheim.
Kings: host Vancouver on Saturday night.
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