With the acquisition of Marian Gaborik and to a lesser extent Brayden McNabb, the Los Angeles Kings begin the post-deadline stretch drive to the playoffs with a visit to the frozen north to take on a new conference rival.
4:00 PM PST
This is the second meeting of 3 this season between the Kings and Jets, both happening in Winnipeg. On opening night the Jets managed to squeak out a 5-3 win over the Kings, on the strength of 3 points each from Devin Setoguchi and Evander Kane. Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Matt Greene scored for the Kings in the loss.
LA is coming off a tidy 2-1 home ice win on Monday night over the Montreal Canadiens, before embarking on this three game Western Canada road trip. Winnipeg fell 3-2 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marian Gaborik, LA – The Kings’ big trade deadline acquisition should play on the Kings top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, shuffling Justin Williams down the lineup. He will make his Kings debut and will try to assimilate himself into the Kings’ culture immediately and make an impact.
Andrew Ladd, WPG – The Jets’ captain had both goals in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders. He has 4 assists in 12 career games against the Kings.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Gaborik Debut – Obviously the spotlight will be on Gaborik to see how well he fits in with the Kings. The biggest knock on the deal is that he cannot play a “Darryl Sutter” type game and will not be able to handle the physicality of the Kings biggest rivalries.
2. Grounded Jet – The Jets lost one of their most important forwards, center Mark Scheifele, for an extended period of time with a leg injury. They didn’t make any moves to compensate at the trade deadline and they are thin up the middle.
3. Streaking Kings – LA is looking to extend their 5 game winning streak and get closer to the San Jose Sharks for 2nd in the Pacific Division and the all important home ice advantage in the first round.