After having shut down the Anaheim Ducks in a rather chippy mid-afternoon affair yesterday, the Winnipeg Jets will now see if they can make it 2-for-LA tonight when they take on the Kings at Staples Center.
Who’s in goal?
As of the moment this has been published, we don’t really know who will be in goal for either club. Conventional wisdom suggests that since both teams played yesterday and that both teams went with their number one goalies in afternoon matchups, the backups – Laurent Brossoit for the Jets and Jack Campbell for the Kings – will get the call tonight.
Paul Maurice the other day though suggested he might just roll with Connor Hellebuyck on back to back games which might not be the wisest way to go about things, but with Hellebuyck having won four of his last five starts and coming off a 24 save shutout performance of the Anaheim Ducks, who could blame Maurice for wanting to ride the hot hand?
Brossoit though is likely looking forward to getting back in the net as his last start last Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets went pretty well right up until the moment he had to leave the game midway through the third period with a bout of cramps. Despite playing almost 49 minutes of the game and making 27 saves, Brossoit didn’t get credit for the eventual Jets win as the game was tied when he left.
Score first, keep the lead through one.
The Los Angeles Kings are 6-1-1 at home when they score first in the game, and they are a perfect 6-0-0 when they have the lead after one. Conversely they are 2-4-1 when the opposition scores the first goal and are a combined 2-5-1 when they are tied or trailing after the first 20 minutes of play in Staples Center.
Interestingly enough, the Jets are 3-0-0 on the road when trailing after the first period, so maybe it doesn’t mean that much.
Second line happiness
When Bryan Little went down with an injury after taking an errant puck to the side of his head, Paul Maurice decided to finally split up the tandem of forwards Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler by keeping Scheifele on the top line while moving Wheeler down to the second line to be the team’s new 2C. When the move was made, not many expected Blake Wheeler to be one of the big beneficiaries of the move, but over the last handful of games we’ve really started to see Blake find a comfort level in his new role, show off some amazing chemistry with Nikolaj Ehlers and in the process also help Jack Roslovic along in his development as a top six forward. Wheeler has managed two points in each of his past three games and four times in his past six games. Ehlers has four goals in his last six games and Roslovic has recorded a point in five of his last six games as well.
Don’t underestimate the Kings
It would be easy to look at the Kings 10-14-2 record and their placement at the bottom of the Pacific division and write this game off as a win for the Jets, but Winnipeg fans know better than that.
Besides, Los Angeles is starting to come around a bit after a near disastrous October, they are 6-5-2 in November with wins over tough teams like the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders. The Kings power play has scored a goal in three of their last five games while their penalty kill is a respectable 10 for 11 over that same stretch of games. The Kings are also 10-2-4 at home against the Jets since 2011.