Former King Jack Johnson Helps Columbus Beat Kings
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Mark Letestu scored twice and Jack Johnson had a goal against his former teammates to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to their fourth straight win Thursday night, a 3-1 victory that ended the Los Angeles Kings’ three-game winning streak.
It was only the second two-goal game of Letestu’s career, the other coming when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letestu had not had a goal in 16 games.
Jack Johnson also had a goal in his first game since being traded by the Kings. Steve Mason had 16 saves before he left with an injury, with Curtis Sanford coming on in relief to make 13 stops. Vinny Prospal added two assists.
Anze Kopitar scored a short-handed goal for the Kings.
The Blue Jackets had not won four games in a row since Nov. 17-22, 2010 — a span of 131 games.
The Kings’ Jeff Carter was lustily booed whenever he touched the puck by a crowd of 14,306. Acquired by the Blue Jackets from Philadelphia in a blockbuster trade last summer, he never seemed to fit in Columbus. He didn’t discuss the trade for several days after the deal and many fans saw that as a sign he was unhappy. After a nondescript half season with the Blue Jackets, he was dealt to the Kings on Feb. 23 for a first-round draft pick and Johnson.
Johnson was the star of the opening period. With 8.5 seconds left and the game tied at 1, he trailed the play and rocketed in a wrist shot from the high slot for his 10th of the year.
Earlier, the Blue Jackets took the lead when Letestu redirected a blast by James Wisniewski. The Kings matched that, however, with a short-handed goal by Kopitar after Columbus’ Derek Dorsett coughed up the puck in the neutral zone.
Columbus stretched the lead to 3-1 through two periods. Letestu picked up his second of the night — after scoring five in the first 46 games — by cleaning up a rebound. Maksim Mayorov, summoned on emergency recall earlier in the day, came up the left wing and left a drop pass for Prospal, who sent a hard shot. Mayorov crashed the net and got a whack at the rebound, but Jonathan Bernier stopped him. The puck ended up bouncing to Letestu, also in the scrum, and he jammed it home.
Mason stopped 16 of 17 shots but was injured and left at 11:08 of the second period. Blue Jackets defenseman John Moore was shoved into the net by the Kings’ Alec Martinez. As Moore crumpled, he swung his legs around and his skate caught the left hand of Mason, who quickly skated to the dressing room.
Mason returned to the bench for the third period.
Notes: Columbus was without C Derek MacKenzie (concussion) and D Fedor Tyutin (broken right hand). Mayorov was called up earlier Thursday from AHL Springfield. … Dustin Brown (5-5-10) extended his points streak to six games for the Kings, while Kopitar (3-3-6) now has a five-game streak. … The game was the second of a four-game road trip for Los Angeles, which next goes to Detroit and Chicago.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.