The Los Angeles Kings will host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night for the first of two visits to Staples Center for Winnipeg this season.
Los Angeles last played on Thursday night when it blew out the St. Louis Blues on home ice. Both Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson had a pair of goals in the 5-1 win. The game against Winnipeg will be game number five in a seven-game homestand for the Kings, where they have gone 2-2-0 through the first four games. A win against Winnipeg would put Los Angeles in a good spot to finish with a winning record over the seven-game stretch.
Winnipeg, on the other hand, will be on the second leg of a back-to-back series when they skate out onto Staples Center’s ice. The Jets visited the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night, where Arizona goalie Mike Smith made 37 saves in a 4-3 win for the Coyotes. The Jets will try to avoid losing a third consecutive game when they take on Los Angeles.
Winnipeg will have to do all of this without star rookie Patrik Laine, who didn’t travel with the team because of a concussion he suffered after being hit by Buffalo’s Jake McCabe in a game last Saturday. The 18-year-old has set the pace for Winnipeg in goals this season with 21 and has 37 points in 42 games.
The two teams have played each other once already this season back in November, when Winnipeg hosted Los Angeles and walked away with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Now a closer look at the matchup between the Jets and Kings.
Winnipeg Jets at Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center – 7:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, Jan. 14
Broadcast channels – FS-W, SN
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 13 – Jets 3 – Kings 2 (SO)
Los Angeles Kings – 20-17-4 – 44 Points
Home Record: 13-6-1
Hot Players: Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson
Key Injuries: Tyler Toffoli and Jonathan Quick
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Trevor Lewis
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Nic Dowd – Devin Setoguchi
Dwight King – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb – Kevin Gravel
Winnipeg Jets– 20-22-3 – 43 Points
Away Record: 9-13-2
Hot Players: Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler
Key Injuries: Patrik Laine, Tyler Myers and Marko Dano
Mathieu Perreault– Bryan Little – BlakeWheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Drew Stafford
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Andrew Copp – Nic Petan – Chris Thorburn
Josh Morrissey – Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom – Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart – Paul Postma
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Winnipeg d-man Dustin Byfuglien leads the NHL in time on ice and average time on ice per game with 1,227:52 and 27:17 respectively. Los Angeles has a workhorse of its own in Drew Doughty, who is averaging 27:11 of ice time per game and always ranks among the league leaders in time on ice at the season’s completion. Expect to see plenty of these two defensemen skating up and down the ice tonight.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Kings, a team that has struggled to produce offensively for prolonged points of recent history, have found a scoring touch over their last three games where they have scored 13 goals. This offensive flurry can be attributed to Los Angeles’s big guns finding their stride. In those three games, Jeff Carter had one goal and six points, Tanner Pearson had three goals and four points, Anze Kopitar had one goal and four points, and Jake Muzzin had three goals and four points.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Los Angeles is 13-4-2 when scoring first and 9-1-1 when leading after the first period this season. A quick start to the game could be key for the Kings against a Jets team on the back-end of two games in two nights.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Connor Hellebuyck has started Winnipeg’s last two games and has been pulled in both of them. In his game against Arizona, Hellebuyck was pulled midway through the first period after allowing three goals on just six shots. Backup Michael Hutchinson, after coming in for relief efforts the last two games, will start against Los Angeles.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] January has been a good month for the Jets offensively. Winnipeg has scored the second-most goals with 22 and has averaged 3.7 goals per game during the year’s first month. Overall, Winnipeg ranks ninth in the NHL in goals scored with 123 while Los Angeles is a bit further down the list with 106 tallies this season, which is better than only six other teams.