Winnipeg Jets (20-14-7) at Los Angeles Kings (19-13-9)
|Date & Time||Saturday January 10, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -165 / Winnipeg Jets +140 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Los Angeles Kings look to bounce back on Saturday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets at the Staples Center. It has been an up and down season for the Kings after winning another Stanley Cup, and the inconsistencies showed again during Thursday night’s loss to the New York Rangers. The Kings have struggled to score at times, with players like Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar going missing for long stretches. They’ve had a goaltender in Jonathan Quick that got off to an incredible start and then somehow lost his way. It won’t matter to anyone how the Kings are playing in January as long as they find a way to make the post season. Los Angeles has proven that they’re a team that’s built for the playoffs and as long as they get in they’re going to be one of the favorites to make a lengthy run. Right now they find themselves in fourth place in the Pacific Division standings, two points behind the San Jose Sharks with a game in hand. Thursday night they got off to a quick start after a long layoff between games and they had more jump in their legs than the Rangers. Tanner Pearson scored his 12th goal of the year off a beautiful feed from Jeff Carter just 4:12 into the game and Justin Williams added his 10th of the season less than two minutes later. Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead into the second period and despite the fact that they were only out shot 9-6 in the period the Kings were absolutely dominated. New York controlled the puck at all times and used their speed to wreak havoc on the beat up Kings defense. The Rangers scored three times in the frame and if the Kings were going to win this one they were going to need to come from behind. Los Angeles waited until the final minutes to make their famous push that we’ve seen so many times. It was successful in getting them to within 4-3 on Wiliams’ second of the night but the Kings failed to find the equalizer. Saturday’s home game against Winnipeg is one of these games that the Kings need to not only win but win in a manner that will start bringing them back some confidence.
Winnipeg enters the contest reeling, losers of four of their last five games. After a convincing win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday night the Jets were hopeful that they could get back on a winning streak. Instead they lost a tight one to the San Jose Sharks on home ice and followed that up with another poor performance in Phoenix on Thursday. Special teams was the story of the night in this one as the Jets took two early penalties that both ended up in the back of their net. Bryan Little’s tripping call at 23 seconds of the opening period resulted in the first power play goal of the night for the Coyotes. Less than three minutes later it was Ben Chariot’s hooking call that turned into a Coyotes goal with the man advantage just nine seconds later. On the night the Jets penalty kill allowed three goals on five opportunities and their power play was a miserable 0-for-7 on the night. For the season the Jets rank 20th in the league on the power play at 17.1%. The penalty kill has been better at ninth overall, but it let them down immensely on this night. Now the Jets have to find a way to bounce back as they head into the Staples Center to take on a Kings club that is going to try and run them out of the building.
The Jets have a chance in this one if they can keep the puck deep in the Los Angeles zone and force their defenseman to make plays. It’s hard to see the Kings dropping this one on home ice against Winnipeg though.