Red-hot Kings return home to take on Jets
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings return home red hot and look to capture a sixth victory in a row on Saturday night when they play host to the Winnipeg Jets.
The Kings have won 13 of their last 16 games overall, a span that began with an eight-game win streak from Feb. 6-10. Los Angeles then lost three in a row in regulation before claiming the final two contests of a five-game homestand.
After building that momentum, the Kings hit the road for three in a row and bested a number of contenders in the Eastern Conference as wins over Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh stretched Los Angeles' road winning streak to a club record-tying eight straight.
The Kings, who set the original mark from Dec. 18, 1974-Jan. 16, 1975, wrapped up the swing with Thursday's 3-2 decision over the Penguins. Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter had goals and Drew Doughty netted the winner early in the third frame.
Backup Martin Jones stopped 35-of-37 shots for Los Angeles, which appears locked into third place in the Pacific Division following its successful swing.
"They're all such good buildings and good teams," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "All three teams are in different places in their standings, so if you can get six points you take it."
Los Angeles will play its next three at home and is likely to give No. 1 Jonathan Quick the start tonight. He is 2-2-0 with a 3.48 goals against average lifetime versus the Jets.
The Kings split a pair of meetings with the Jets in Winnipeg earlier this season, with L.A. claiming the most recent encounter 3-1 on March 6. The Kings are 5-0-2 all-time at home versus the Jets franchise, which makes its first trip to Los Angeles since relocating from Atlanta.
Winnipeg picked up only its third victory in 12 games on Thursday with a 4-3 triumph over the San Jose Sharks. That 3-6-3 slump has essentially knocked the Jets out of the playoffs as they trail the Phoenix Coyotes by nine points for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with eight games to play.
Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists in Thursday's win, while Tobias Enstrom scored the winner with 3:36 to play. Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for the Jets and Al Montoya stopped 27 shots in the win.
"We just tried to make one more play than they did and it worked out for us," Wheeler said.
The Jets have split the first two of a five-game road trip.
Montoya is 2-1-0 with a 2.34 GAA and a shutout in three career meetings with the Kings and is unknown if he will start again tonight or if Ondrej Pavelec will be able to return from a lower-body injury that has held him out since March 14.
Pavelec also has solid career numbers against Los Angeles, going 2-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and one shutout in three games.
03/29 10:54:12 ET