The All-Star break interrupted the Kings' four-game homestand and Los Angeles will try to complete the residency on a positive note when they host the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at the Staples Center.
The Kings lost the first two tests on their homestand before posting a 4-1 victory over Ottawa on Jan. 23. That victory improved LA to 14-11-4 as the host this year and allowed the Kings to enter the break just two points behind San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings are now four behind the Sharks, but they're also seeded seventh in the West and hold a three-point lead over eighth-seeded Minnesota.
Jonathan Quick -- the Kings' lone representative at Sunday's All-Star Game in Ottawa -- turned aside 27 shots to help lift his club to the win over the Senators. Quick also stopped 10-of-13 shots while playing for Team Alfredsson in the third period of a 12-9 All-Star loss to Team Chara.
Following tonight's test, the Kings will head out on a six-game road trip that is set to begin Friday in St. Louis.
The Blue Jackets are last in the NHL with 32 points and have recorded just 13 wins this season. One of those victories came less than a month ago in Los Angeles, as Columbus posted a 1-0 decision at the Staples Center on Jan. 7. It was the second victory in the last three trips to the City of Angeles for the Blue Jackets, but the Kings have still won seven of the past nine meetings overall.
Columbus turned in a poor effort in its first game following the break, as it was slammed Tuesday in San Jose by a 6-0 score. It was the fifth straight loss for the Blue Jackets, who posted a dismal 3-8-1 record in January.
Joe Thornton had two goals and an assist for the Sharks in the rout and Antti Niemi made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Steve Mason made 37 saves for the Blue Jackets, who are 11 points in back of Edmonton for the 14th seed in the West.
"They are a very good team and we made things harder on ourselves tonight just [with] poor puck management and poor decisions," said Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards.
The Blue Jackets are 0-3-1 so far on a six-game road trip that is set to end Friday in Anaheim. Columbus is just 5-18-3 as the visiting team this season.