The Columbus Blue Jackets’ playoff hopes continue to fade as the team lost its seventh consecutive game Friday.
The Blue Jackets lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings. Kings center Anze Kopitar scored three goals, and the Blue Jackets’ five penalties in the second period hurt the their ability to gain momentum.
“We got into some penalty trouble,” said Blue Jackets forward Scottie Upshall. “That was what stopped the momentum and ultimately gave them the upper edge.”
Recently acquired Upshall scored his third goal in six games with the Blue Jackets. Tonight was his first in front of the home crowd. The Blue Jackets still have not won since trading defenseman Rostislav Klesla to Phoenix for Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto.
“It’s weighing on all of us,” said Upshall. “We’re in a funk and we’re trying to get out of it. We’re doing [the] right things, we just have to keep our heads held high. It’s a good bunch of guys in here, and no one’s quitting.”
The Blue Jackets’ penalty kill has given up seven goals during the seven-game losing streak, but forward Derick Brassard thought that was a positive from the game against the Kings.
“I think our penalty kill did a good job with all the penalties that we take,” Brassard said.
The Blue Jackets’ are now 10 points behind four teams for eighth place in the Western Conference. Brassard said the team is frustrated with the losing streak.
“We’re always like one goal down,” Brassard said. “There’s a lot of frustration in our game right now. We show up in the third with great emotion, the fans are behind us – we want to play well for them. We just come [up] short again in another big game. We’re battling, and that’s the message of our coach, too.”
Coach Scott Arniel had little to say in the post-game press conference, but he did show support for starting goaltender Steve Mason, who started against the Kings and has allowed at least four goals in each of his last four starts. Arniel also said Kopitar’s breakaway goal after exiting the penalty box was a mistake that led to another Kings goal.
“You have to know how much time is left on the penalty,” Arniel said. “I think everybody was kind of pushing hard here to get that tying goal and made a mistake.”
The Blue Jackets look to fix their mistakes tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.