Los Angeles Kings (29-20-12) at Winnipeg Jets (31-20-12)
|Date & Time||Sunday March 1, 2015, 4:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Winnipeg Jets +116 / Los Angeles Kings -128 --- 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 get back to their winning ways when they travel to Winnipeg to take on the Jets on Sunday. After reeling off eight consecutive victories the Kings head into Sunday’s contest losers of two straight after blowing a third period lead on Friday night. Despite not playing great hockey for the first 40 minutes the Kings managed to take a 2-0 lead with them into the third. Trevor Lewis got things started with his eighth goal of the year in the opening period and Brayden McNabb got his first of the season in the second. The third period was a whole different story for the Kings as they watched the Anaheim Ducks score twice 1:30 apart to even the game before getting the eventual game winner at 11:21. Martin Jones got the start in this one for the Kings and ended up with the loss after allowing three goals on 31 shots. The good news for the Kings is that everyone else in the division that they’re battling with has lost recently as well. These last four games have been a real struggle for the Kings to find ways to score goals. They rank just 18th in the National Hockey League in goals per game but their defense continues to carry them. This will be a good test for both teams because both are fighting for their playoff lives and this will be the last game to make evaluations before the trading deadline.
Winnipeg has been wheeling and dealing this season as they continue to look to make upgrades in order to secure a playoff berth. After a blockbuster trade that sent Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres in return for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, they’ve since acquired Jiri Tlusty from Carolina. The club currently sits in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference and they have been consistent enough for much of the season to believe that they have what it takes to get in. One question will be whether or not they believe in their goaltending duo of Ondrej Pavelec and Matt Hutchinson or if the Jets look to upgrade somehow. Winnipeg comes into the contest struggling however, losing three of their last four games overall. Thursday night it was a disappointing result for the Jets after a good start to the game failed to lead to two points. Winnipeg out shot the St. Louis Blues 11-4 in the opening period but were unable to get anything by Brian Elliot and gain any momentum. Trailing by a goal heading into the third period the Jets go the equalizer from Mark Scheifele, his 10th of the season. Andrew Ladd’s goal in the shootout kept things going until Alexander Steen beat Hutchinson to win it.
Los Angeles is a slight favorite in this one and deservedly so, but this is going to be a tough match up for the Kings. Winnipeg hasn’t played well recently but this is a big test for them on home ice against one of the best in the league.