The Jets suffered an overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, but have a four-game point streak coming into the match-up, and have the best record in the entire NHL since Paul Maurice became head coach, at 10-3-2. The Kings’ 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday gave them a five-game win streak after dropping four in a row. The Jets won the only meeting between the clubs thus far, a 5-3 victory in Winnipeg on October 4th. All-time, the teams have played only two games since the Jets moved to Winnipeg. The Jets have won them both.
The Jets will start Ondrej Pavelec for the fourth straight game since the Olympics, after a 2-0-1 record in that span. Pavelec is 20-22-5 this season, with a .904% save percentage and 2.90 GAA. At the other end will be Jonathan Quick, making his fourth straight start also. Quick is 19-13-2, recording a .916% save percentage and 2.05 GAA in the process.
The Jets lost center Mark Scheifele for what looks like the rest of the regular season, after a knee injury against the Islanders on Tuesday. James Wright is also out indefinitely with an ankle sprain, meaning John Albert gets the call from St. John’s of the AHL. Chris Thorburn is day-to-day after leaving the game against the Islanders, and will be a game-time decision. The Kings have a completely healthy active roster. To fill the void at the Center position, Michael Frolik moves from the wing to pivot.
Marian Gaborik will play his first game as a King on Thursday, after being acquired the day previous at the trade deadline from Columbus. Linden Vey was sent down to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs to make room for the newly acquired Gaborik. The Jets did not make any trades at the deadline, instead opting to sign defenseman Mark Stuart to a four-year contract extension.
The Jets are only one point behind the Dallas Stars for the final Wild Card spot in the West, with both teams in action on Thursday night. Dallas takes on Vancouver for a huge playoff-team tilt, while the Phoenix Coyotes can jump ahead of all three teams with a win against the Canadiens.
The Jets are 15-11-5 at home this season, while the Kings are 16-12-3 on the road. Winnipeg has a solid 9-4-1 record against Pacific Division teams, but the Kings have struggled against Central Division opponents, with a 7-9-2 record.
You can see the game nationally on CBC, or listen live on TSN 1290 AM. American viewers can catch the game on Fox Sports – West. Puck drop is at 6:00 PM Central, 4:00 PM Pacific.
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