Winnipeg at Los Angeles
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Thursday, March 23, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Were the NHL playoffs to begin today, the Winnipeg Jets and the Los Angeles Kings would be the first two Western Conference teams on the outside looking in at the postseason. The Jets travel to face the Kings on Thursday in a matchup of two teams who are running out of time and have a daunting gap in order to play beyond Game No. 82.
The Kings have lost four of their past five games, falling eight points behind Nashville for the West’s final wild-card spot, and have scored just four goals in their past three games. “Going down two goals at this time of year against teams we’re playing, it’s certainly not the way you want to start the game,” Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar told reporters after the Kings gave up two early goals in a 2-0 loss Monday at Edmonton. Winnipeg has won three in a row following Tuesday’s 3-2 home victory over Philadelphia, but the Jets sit 10 points behind the Predators with nine games remaining. “It’s just a matter of digging in defensively and having a willingness to play that part of the game,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler told the media after scoring a goal with two assists the victory over the Flyers.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE JETS (33-33-7): Wheeler, Mathieu Perreault (one goal, one assist) and Mark Scheifele (one goal, two assists) combined for eight points in the win over Philadelphia. Michael Hutchinson put on a solid performance in his first start since Jan. 16 with 24 saves, earning his first victory in a start since Dec. 22 against Vancouver. The Jets are one of the top-scoring teams in the league (seventh at 2.99 goals per game), but are 28th in goals allowed per contest (3.16) entering Wednesday.
ABOUT THE KINGS (34-31-7): Los Angeles’ defense and goaltending have been solid most of the season, giving up just 2.46 goals per game (fifth) through Tuesday, but the Kings has surrendered seven goals in their past two contests. Goalie Jonathan Quick, who was pulled after allowing two goals on seven shots in Sunday’s 5-2 loss at Calgary, made 29 saves in Monday's defeat. Jeff Carter leads Los Angeles in goals (31), but has scored just one in his past 11 games.
1. Los Angeles has scored seven goals in its past five games on 177 shots, a 3.95 percent success rate.
2. Winnipeg rookie F Patrik Laine entered Wednesday tied for fifth in the NHL in goals (33).
3. The Jets and Kings split their first two meetings this season with Winnipeg winning 3-2 in a shootout at home on Nov. 13 before Los Angeles prevailed 3-2 in overtime at home on Jan. 14.
PREDICTION: Kings 4, Jets 3
Stats and Records