Wizards

Kings-Blue Jackets Preview

Kings-Blue Jackets Preview

The Los Angeles Kings feel it may be good to get away to the Midwest as they continue a five-game road trip.

The Kings hope to take advantage of an injury-plagued Columbus Blue Jackets' blue line when these teams meet Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (2-3-2) opened this stretch with Saturday's 7-4 loss at Anaheim. Now the defending Stanley Cup champions will try to make up ground for their poor start on this trip that takes them to every Central Division city except Chicago.

"I think it's going to be good for us to kind of get away for a couple days on the road," said Kyle Clifford, who has a team-high five points.

Jonathan Quick was pulled from a start for the first time since last Feb. 22, and Los Angeles surrendered three power-play goals Saturday. The Kings, who got two goals from Dustin Brown, allowed at least seven in a game only once last season.

"Giving up that many goals is very uncharacteristic and we need to watch video and figure it out," defenseman Drew Doughty said.

Columbus (3-5-1) doesn't figure to pose much of a threat with an average of 1.89 goals for one of the NHL's worst marks.

The Blue Jackets are just as concerned about their defense. James Wisniewski suffered a concussion in Saturday's 4-2 home win over Detroit, and fellow defenseman Nikita Nikitin has been placed on injured reserve to join Adrian Aucoin on the sidelines.

That puts more pressure on players such as former Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who spent nearly 35 minutes on the ice Saturday to establish a new career high.

"I've had nine months to get ready for this and that's why you train in the summer and I feel great and I keep telling the coaches to keep putting me out, I guess," Johnson said.

Columbus has recalled Nick Holden from Springfield of the AHL to give the club six defensemen for this game. Holden last played for the club two seasons ago.

The Blue Jackets improved to 1-1 on a six-game homestand as Artem Anisimov scored twice against the Red Wings and Steve Mason made 32 saves for his first victory.

"You couldn't be more happy than the way the guys played tonight," Mason said. "It was the first real 60-minute effort that we've been looking for and haven't been getting the last few games."

These clubs split four low-scoring games last season as they totaled 13 goals. Columbus went 0 for 17 on the power play in those games and has come up empty in 36 chances over its last 10 versus Los Angeles.

Los Angeles had won four straight at Columbus before a 3-1 defeat March 8. Johnson scored against his former team in the first contest between these clubs since the Feb. 23 deal that also sent Jeff Carter to the Kings.

The Blue Jackets have been solid on the penalty kill at 85.7 percent. The Kings have one of the league's worst power plays at 10.8 percent, but that unit is 4 for 14 over the last three games.

"The power play's been pretty good the last couple of games, that's one of our strong points," Doughty said.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS