NHL Hockey

Final 1 2 3 Tot
Winnipeg 2 1 0 3
Los Angeles 1 1 0 2
7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ET23:30 BRT, March 18, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 17,842

Division-leading Jets hit road against lowly Kings

Winnipeg Jets at Los Angeles Kings

  1. The Jets and Kings have split their last eight games dating back to the beginning of the 2016-17 season. In the most recent meeting, a 4-1 Kings win in Los Angeles on December 18, Austin Wagner scored two goals in just eight minutes of ice time, the fourth-lowest time on ice in a multi-goal game this season.
  2. The Jets defeated the Flames, 2-1, in Winnipeg on Saturday. Winnipeg's last eight games have been against teams who would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. The Jets have gone 5-3-0 in those eight games, outscoring their opponents by exactly a goal per game over that span.
  3. The Kings fell to the Panthers, 4-3, in Los Angeles on Saturday, their fifth loss in their last six games and fourth straight home loss. Los Angeles has just 13 wins in 35 home games this season. If the Kings fail to win tonight, they will have their fewest wins through 36 home games of a season since 1985-86 (9).
  4. Anze Kopitar scored his 20th goal of the season in the loss to the Panthers, his 10th season with 20-plus goals for the Kings. He is the fourth player in team history to reach double-digit seasons with 20 or more goals. Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille and Dave Taylor each scored 20-plus goals in 12 seasons with LA.
  5. Patrik Laine, who turns 21 on April 19, has scored 109 goals in his career with the Jets. He is the franchise's all-time leader in goals scored before the age of 21, one ahead of Ilya Kovalchuk who scored 108 goals before turning 21. Laine is on 29 goals this season having not scored in his last eight games.
  6. The Kings' Ilya Kovalchuk is still the Jets/Thrashers' franchise leader in points with 615. Blake Wheeler is second on the all-time list, just 33 points behind Kovalchuk at 582 points. Wheeler has 19 points (8g, 11a) in 12 games since February 20, tied for fifth most in the NHL over that span.

The Winnipeg Jets will try to extend their lead in the Central Division when they open a three-game road trip in Los Angeles against the Kings on Monday night.

The Jets own a one-point lead over the Nashville Predators, who don't play until Tuesday. Winnipeg has 10 games left and the Predators have nine, including their final meeting against the Jets on Saturday in Winnipeg.

The Jets have won two in a row and are coming off an eight-game stretch against teams currently in playoff spots. Winnipeg went 5-3.

"We're playing solid," Jets forward Mark Scheifele told the Winnipeg Sun following a 2-1 win against the visiting Calgary Flames on Saturday. "You just have to have that attitude that it's a playoff game from here on in. You've got to ramp yourself up. You've got to be ready for that grind. We've done that lately."

The postseason hopes of the Kings ended long ago, and interim coach Willie Desjardins has been experimenting with different lineups and lines.

Following a 4-3 loss to the visiting Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon, he told reporters that he's been impressed with Winnipeg.

"Good team, big, heavy team, lots of talent up front," he said. "They've got lots of depth. I think, if you look at them on paper, they're one of the best in the league. When they're on their game, they're hard to handle."

The Jets have had to adjust to the loss of defensemen Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien.

Morrissey has been sidelined since Feb. 24 with an upper-body injury and isn't expected back until next month. Byfuglien has been out since the middle of last month with an ankle injury, and no timeline has been set for his return.

"We're never comfortable without those two guys," Jets forward Blake Wheeler told the Winnipeg Sun. "The guys that are playing in their place are great players, and they're doing a heck of a job. It's just that we're talking about two of our best players, two of the best defensemen in the league. It's never easy playing without them. You're never going to replace them. We're doing the best we can."

The Jets and Kings split their first two meetings this season.

The Jets beat Los Angeles 2-1 in Winnipeg the third game of the season, part of a 2-7-1 start that put the Kings in a hole for good this season.

The Kings came back with a 4-1 win in Los Angeles on Dec. 18, which sparked a season-long four-game winning streak.

Winnipeg knows not to take the Kings or any other opponent lightly the rest of the way.

"It's important that you get geared up and start preparing for the playoffs," Jets forward Adam Lowry said. "It's a great opportunity for us to go up against some quality teams and really iron out our game. Over the last little bit we've started to play better, and generally we've played pretty well against teams that are sitting well in the standings. You've got to beat good teams in the playoffs, so it's important that you do that in the regular season, too."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 17, 2019

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