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Game Day #42: Kings-Jets Preview

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Where have you gone, Mike Richards? Jeff Carter turns his lonely eyes to you.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles KingsWinnipeg Jets (Staples Center)

Time: 7:00 PM

TV: FSW

Enemy reading: Arctic Ice Hockey

Jets (projected) lineup:

Ladd - Little - Wheeler

Perreault - Scheifele - Frolik

Kane - Lowry - Halischuk

Thorburn - Slater - Peluso

Enstrom - Bogosian

Stuart - Harrison

Byfuglien - Chiarot

Hutchinson

Pavelec

Kings (projected) lineup:

Gaborik – Kopitar – Brown

Pearson – Carter – Toffoli Lewis

King – Stoll – Williams

Clifford – Richards - Lewis Nolan

[EDIT, 6:45 PM: Tyler Toffoli has mononucleosis; he'll miss this game and at least a few more.]

McNabb – Doughty

Schultz – Martinez

Muzzin – Greene

Quick

Jones

Notes:

  • Why are the Kings still in the top-eight despite a recent four-day break and a lot of blown points? The Jets, tied for the last wild card spot with LA, are also struggling, having dropped four out of their last five (the ninth-place Flames have also lost three in a row).
  • A little like the Kings, the Jets have enjoyed strong (but not as strong) possession numbers while suffering from a low PDO recently (54.1 Corsi % in their last five, 52.4 % for the season; 95.1 PDO in last five). Unlike LA, the main culprit isn't Sv% (since 12/9, LA's 5v5 SH% is 6.8, while their Sv% is 89.1); Winnipeg is slumping with a 4.5 SH%.
  • However, Winnipeg's getting some help back tonight, as noted Kings killer Evander Kane (nine points in six games versus Los Angeles), Tobias Enstrom, and Mark Stuart return. Consequently, Kings legend Keaton Ellerby and Patrice Cormier were sent back to the AHL.
  • Something else to be anxious about: The Jets are an excellent 11-5-4 on the road this year.
  • This will be LA's first look at Michael Hutchinson as a starter...except for that time in October when backup Hutch drew a start against Martin Jones and was pulled after LA torched him for three goals on 13 shots. Good times, when division title hopes were still dancing in our heads!
  • Overall, Hutchinson has been much better than laughingstock former #1 Ondrej Pavelec. Among goalies who have played 500+ 5v5 minutes, Hutchinson has posted a 94.3 5v5 Sv%, good for 3rd in the league (out of 44 goalies). Pavelec? 91.59 (28th). If you're curious, despite his recent struggles, Quick still owns a 92.98 (12th).
  • Quick looks like he'll be getting the start over birthday boy Jones. Which is shocking because Darryl Sutter just declared Jonesy the team MVP last year (which I'm sure was a tremendous surprise to newly-minted All-Star Anze Kopitar, the official 2013-14 team MVP).
  • 32 looks to bounce back from his recent struggles. Since his 12/2 shutout of the Boston Bruins, he's posted an unsightly 87.74 Sv%.
  • Speaking of struggling, the woeful dirge of Mike Richards continues. While it looks like the Kenora native (located just three hours from sunny Winnipeg) won't get scratched tonight, it appears to be just be a matter of time before Richie's riding the pine.
  • A Muzzin-Doughty house divided? It seems like a good idea because both are capable of carrying a pair, but I'll believe it when I see it. However, our projected pairings are from the last line rush, and Sutter had some pointed criticism of Muzz's work last Thursday.
  • No matter what happens tonight, we get to be reminded that Los Angeles picked Doughty ahead of Zach Bogosian!