Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty

Defending champion Kings seek “confidence boost” against team they smoked in the playoffs


Drew Doughty remembers what happened in April, right? When the Kings beat the Canucks in five games? Ring a bell?

We only ask because this is what Doughty said today prior to tonight’s Vancouver-Los Angeles game at the Staples Center:

“There’s nothing more rewarding than beating a team that’s won the (Presidents’ Trophy) the last couple of years in a row. So we’re really looking forward to hopefully do that tonight. A big win tonight against a big team like them would definitely give us a confidence boost.”

To be fair, the Kings are off to a sluggish 1-2-1 start, so we can see where Doughty’s coming from. Plus, there’s no sense giving the Canucks any more motivation than they should already have against the team that bounced them so unceremoniously last spring.

Of note, Roberto Luongo is expected to get the assignment in Vancouver’s goal. The 33-year-old started the first two games of last year’s Kings series before being replaced by Cory Schneider for the final three games — a move that many thought would lead to Luongo playing elsewhere by now.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win. They’ve spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.