Columbus (4-1-0) has followed up its first playoff berth last season with a strong start to 2008-09. Star left wing Rick Nash has led the way with four straight multi-point efforts, tallying two goals and seven assists in that span.
"This is the tightest group I think we've had," Nash said. "Everyone's friends, everyone's close off the ice. We're buying into the system early. Usually in past seasons it's taken us some time to get into that."
The Blue Jackets, though, learned Wednesday that Hejda will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a sprained left knee. He was placed on injured reserve Friday.
The veteran was injured late in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over Calgary when he collided with Flames forward Curtis Glencross. Hejda's plus-8 rating in five games puts him among the NHL leaders.
It remains to be seen how Hejda's absence will affect one of the best penalty-killing units in the league. Columbus has killed off 18 of 19 penalties (94.7 percent).
"We played really good today," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We reloaded hard and put pressure on them."
The Blue Jackets and Kings (4-3-0) split four meetings last season, with Los Angeles goaltender Jon Quick posting a 2.04 goals-against average in his three starts.
Quick had his four-game winning streak end Thursday in a 5-2 loss at Detroit. The goalie had a 2.25 GAA during his run before he allowed four goals against the Red Wings.
The Kings have lost two straight, with Erik Ersberg allowing four goals on 21 shots Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers.
"Goaltending is critical," coach Terry Murray told the Kings' official Web site, "and our goaltending last night (against Detroit) has to be better, and it has to be better against the New York Rangers. That's a fact of the business, period."
Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for Los Angeles on Thursday. The Kings have scored exactly two goals in the first four games of this six-game trip.
"Tonight we didn't have the consistency shift after shift," Brown said.
Kings center Anze Kopitar has collected at least one point in six of seven games, and ranks among the NHL leaders with 11 points. He has four goals and five assists in his past seven games against the Blue Jackets.