How to Watch
Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Arctic Ice Hockey
What to Watch
Imagine that you have a hockey team. And that hockey team currently sits at number one in their division.
And yet you’ve lost five of your last 10, and people are wondering what, specifically, is wrong with your team.
Congratulations, you have the Winnipeg Jets.
Despite being one of the top teams all year, there’s some justifiable angst in the Jets fan base. Between perplexing lineup decisions, injuries to the blue line (including the very large, very physical Dustin Byfuglien), and Connor Hellebuyck looking downright human at times, the Jets are feeling less “embarrassment of riches” and more “yikes” about their recent play.
I don’t know, though, man. From down here, “good but flawed” feels really nice.
Anyway, the Jets can score. They can defend. They can hit. They can outskate you. Even with Patrik Laine only — only — OnLy — “only” — having 29 goals — and again, remember, Anze Kopitar only just hit the 20 goal mark on Saturday — the Jets have no problem putting the puck in the net. Nine players are in the double digits for goals, led by Mark Scheifele with 34. Their power play is fourth in the league (25.6%) and while their penalty kill is decidedly just okay (23rd in the league, 79.3%), what does it matter when you can so easily outscore your mistakes?
Perhaps the only saving grace for the Kings tonight, aside from whatever late-season malaise is making the Jets look meh and sending their fans into a tizzy, is the Jets’ middling road record. They’re 18-16-0 on the season when on the road, with losses in five of their last 10 away games. Their road power play is still fairly good — sitting in 13th place in the league (19.1%) — and their road penalty kill (81.6%) is even better than their home penalty kill (76.9%),
At this point, we know what the Kings are. They’re deeply flawed, poorly coached, and completely demoralized. They’re on autopilot waiting for the season to end, from the looks of things. The Jets are going to want these two points — they’re only one point ahead of the Nashville Predators, and would probably like to extend that lead. It’s not going to be an easy game. And while the Kings came away with a 4-1 win the last time these teams met, led by a strong performance from Jonathan Quick, that feels like an outlier that should not be counted.
Plus, there’s this:
#NHLJets morning skate in LA line rushes— Jamie Thomas (@JamieThomasTV) March 18, 2019
Brossoit starts. Hendricks in for Roslovic against the Kings tonight. Roslovic is healthy, just coaches decision. #NHLJets— Jamie Thomas (@JamieThomasTV) March 18, 2019
Hello from Jet City El Segundo. Quiet optional skate at TSC. No line rushes. Wait for the song.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) March 18, 2019
Kings back at it early (for a Sunday) at TSC. Fwiw, Kovalchuk has been on a line with Carter and Brodzinski in drills.— Curtis Zupke (@curtiszupke) March 17, 2019