It may be too later too late, but the Winnipeg Jets (33-32-9) will look to keep playing tough against the Los Angeles Kings (43-25-6), who are all but locked in the Stanley Cup Playoff picture.
With the Jets near mathematical elimination from those said Playoffs, they look to make it two straight wins against a playoff-bound squad, after defeating the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Thursday. The Kings are coming in hot, after three wins on an Eastern road trip, and a five-game winning streak in hand. The last time these two teams met on March 6th, the Jets couldn’t contain an equally hot L.A. team, and fell at home, 3-1. All-time, the Jets are 2-1 against Los Angeles.
Winnipeg will start Al Montoya for the seventh straight game, with starter Ondrej Pavelec nearing a return from injury. Montoya is 3-3 in his absence, and has a .920% save percentage and 2.32 GAA in 27 games this season. At the other end, the Kings will start Jonathan Quick, after he had the night off in their most recent game. Quick, who will be aiming for his fifth straight win, is 25-15-2 this season with a .916% save percentage and 2.06 GAA.
The Jets are likely without defenseman Zach Bogosian for the third straight game, after he was wearing a non-contact jersey in practice. Mark Scheifele, James Wright, Chris Thorburn, Ondrej Pavelec all remain out for the Jets, who also sent Patrice Cormier back to the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps on Thursday night.
The Kings will likely remain without forward Dwight King, who missed Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins due to an undisclosed personal reason.
The Staples Center is the final arena the Jets will visit since moving from Atlanta in 2011, coming full circle: they have now hosted every team at the MTS Centre (Vancouver was the last team to play, in mid-January), and have visited each team at least once.
The Kings have a first-round date with either the Anaheim Ducks or San Jose Sharks practically scheduled, with the third place spot in the Pacific Division locked down: they trail both teams by at least nine points, and are ahead of their next closest Pacific Division rival, the Phoenix Coyotes, by eight points. The Coyotes are at the top of a long list of teams ahead of the Jets in the Wild Card race, who are now nine points behind the final playoff spot.
The Kings are 21-13-3 at home this season, with a meager 8-9-2 record against the Central Division this season. The Jets have a 16-17-3 road record, and are a solid 10-5-2 against the Pacific Division this year.
The game will be nationally televised on CBC in Canada, and can be viewed by American viewers on Fox Sports-West. You can also listen live in the Winnipeg area on TSN 1290 radio.
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