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Kings search for success in Columbus

The sliding Los Angeles Kings did not perform well in their game skid when they visit the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena.

The Kings fired Terry Murray on Monday and replaced him with Stevens, but it was Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand who stole the show Tuesday in Boston, as the Bruins handed the Kings a 3-0 loss. Rask stopped 41 shots for his first shutout of the season while Marchand scored twice for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Jonathan Quick allowed all three goals on 22 shots in the losing effort for the Kings.

It was the ninth straight game that LA had been held to two goals or less and the Kings have scored just six total during their current losing streak.

"Obviously there's an issue scoring goals here right now," said Stevens. "Defensively we've been one of the better teams in the league. We need to start scoring goals because if we don't, we're not going to win."

Perhaps a favorable matchup in tonight's game can get LA's offense out of its slump. The Kings have won three straight and six of the last seven meetings with Columbus. Los Angeles, which has also won three in a row at Nationwide Arena, has 33 goals over the previous seven encounters with the Blue Jackets.

Stevens' debut behind the LA bench also marked the first of four straight on the road for the Kings, who have dropped three straight as the guest and are 5-4-3 as the visiting team this year.

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell was a late scratch on Tuesday with a lower body injury and is questionable for tonight.

The Blue Jackets, who are last in the Western Conference with 22 points, improved to 3-2-1 this month with Tuesday's win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Mark Letestu, Rick Nash and James Wisniewski all scored in the shootout as Columbus notched a 2-1 decision over the defending Western Conference champs.

With Columbus already holding a 2-1 edge in the shootout, Wisniewski moved in from the left and deked a few times before sneaking a shot below the pad of Roberto Luongo to seal the win.

Jeff Carter scored the lone regulation goal for Columbus, which got 30 saves from Steve Mason. It was Mason's first start since Nov. 15 and the former Calder Trophy's first win since Nov. 12.

"We're just playing better as a team and he (Mason) played huge. He made some fantastic saves," Wisniewski said.

It's uncertain if Mason will get another start tonight or if head coach Scott Arniel will go back to Curtis Sanford. Columbus forwards Derek Dorsett (left leg) and Samuel Pahlsson (illness) are both questionable for tonight.

The Blue Jackets are 1-1-1 on a five-game homestand that is set to end Saturday against Tampa Bay. Columbus is 6-8-2 in Ohio this season.