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COLUMBUS 5, KINGS 4

Kings' slide continues in loss to Blue Jackets

L.A. has lost four in a row and is 2-7-2 in its last 11 games.

March 04, 2009|Associated Press

COLUMBUS, OHIO — It won't go down as one of the greatest games ever played by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It may be remembered as one of the most important.

Manny Malhotra had two goals and an assist, scoring the go-ahead goal midway through the third period Tuesday night to lead the Blue Jackets past the Kings, 5-4.

"The most important thing, and I think what we're happiest about in this room, is that we're playing good hockey," Malhotra said. "We're in a playoff position and at this point, that's the best the franchise has ever done."

The game pitted teams battling for position in the Western Conference playoff race. The win gave Columbus 70 points and kept it in sixth place as the Blue Jackets desperately pursue the franchise's first trip to the playoffs in its eighth season.

The Kings, meanwhile, lost their fourth in a row and remain in 13th place in the conference. The Kings, who are 2-7-2 in their last 11 games, are seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Malhotra hadn't had three points or two goals in a game in almost a year -- a span of more than 70 games.

He also maintained control of the puck for the final few seconds, pinning it to the boards while the Kings tried to regain possession with a two-man advantage.

Jarret Stoll had a goal and an assist for the Kings, and Edward Purcell, Anze Kopitar and Oscar Moller each scored in a span of 1:55 of the second period to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.

"At the end of the day, their best players made the plays to win the game," Kings Coach Terry Murray said. "That's what it comes down to in a critical situation. That's the way it's supposed to be. Their best players stepped up and got it done."

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