Anze Kopitar had his second career three-goal game and Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over Columbus on Friday night, saddling the Blue Jackets with their seventh consecutive loss.
Kopitar picked up the hat trick by the midpoint of the second period. He was in the penalty box for hooking, but got out just in time to receive Dustin Brown's seeing-eye stretch pass at the blue line. Kopitar then deked goalie Steve Mason before scoring easily on the forehand.
Justin Williams had a goal and two assists and Drew Doughty added two assists for the Kings.
Scottie Upshall and Derick Brassard scored for the Blue Jackets, who were in the middle of the playoff hunt until their recent collapse. The Kings have won six of the last seven meetings with Columbus.
The game wasn't without some drama for the Kings. Doughty was checked by Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger into one of the upright glass supports near the Columbus bench early in the third period. Doughty went face-first into the padded stanchion, hitting it while standing up straight, and then buckled to the ice. He appeared to be in obvious pain on all fours for several minutes before being helped to the dressing room.
But he returned to the ice soon after, barely missing a shift, and played on regular basis the rest of the way.
Earlier this week, Montreal's Max Pacioretty sustained a severe concussion and cracked vertebra when he hit the stanchion on a check by Boston's Zdeno Chara.
Kopitar, a 23-year-old Slovenian, scored three goals only once before in his 386 NHL career games — on Oct. 22, 2009, against Dallas. The big night swelled his season goal total to 24.
The Blue Jackets were pressing for a tying goal — and came close several times — before Williams' goal with 1:34 left settled matters. Brassard hit the post on a shot from point-blank range with just over 2 minutes remaining.
The Kings, who had scored just seven goals in their last four games, found the net twice in the opening period — both times on redirects by Kopitar.
Jack Johnson took a cross-ice pass from Williams and passed to Kopitar for the quick tip-in at 8:08.
After Upshall's hard, low shot from the top of the right circle eluded Bernier for the recent acquisition's 19th goal, Doughty's blast from the right point was deflected in by Kopitar for his 23rd of the year.
Kopitar has always been a Blue Jacket killer. He has a nine-game points streak against Columbus which includes eight goals and five assists.
NOTES: Kings C Jarret Stoll was hit in the face by on a clear by Columbus D Marc Methot that ramped up a stick. ... Doughty has a seven-game points streak against the Blue Jackets, with 12 points in that span. ... The seven-game skid is the Blue Jackets' longest since dropping nine in a row last season.
(This version CORRECTS Kings 4, Blue Jackets 2. Corrects to eight goals instead of seven in last paragraph.)