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GAME DAY: Jets begin short California road trip in LA

9:30pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

Video: JetsTV Road Report

LOS ANGELES, CA - The road has been a friendly place for the Winnipeg Jets.

Dating back to Jan. 31, the Jets (33-33-7) have picked up points in eight of their last nine road games, going 5-1-3 in that span.

Tonight they begin a two-game road trip in Los Angeles against the Kings (34-31-7).

"We've been battling hard, competing hard. We've been getting contributions from different guys each night, and goaltending has been good also. It's a combination of those things," said Morrissey. "Coming into the rink the right way mentally, competing hard, that's when we have success."

Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey

While that strong play away from MTS Centre has spanned almost eight weeks, the Jets' play over the last nine days has been impressive as well. The team has points in each of its last four games (3-0-1), and has won their last three.

"Special teams, when they're working, you usually win games. It shows right now," said Mathieu Perreault, alluding to a Jets power play that has clicked in each of the last four games.

At five-on-five, Perreault's line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler has been clicking too. The trio has combined for 18 points in the last four outings.

"I've always liked playing with Scheifs. I'm more of a pass first mentality, so I always just try to get him the puck," said Perreault. "He's one, if not one of the better players on our team. I always just try to get him the puck and he likes playing with me because I do that. Wheels, same thing, another great player that works really hard."

Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault

Head coach Paul Maurice indicated that the defensive pairs will be the same as they were in the 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. However, he did say after today's morning skate the team does have a "question mark" up front injury-wise. Brandon Tanev, recalled from the Manitoba Moose yesterday on an emergency basis, will play tonight.

"We like the structure of his game. He skates well, he's on the puck. He makes some pretty darn good reads defensively, and we look at him as a guy that we'd like to develop into a penalty killer as well," said Maurice. "For a player like that to develop, you need to touch the puck. It's a bigger challenge here."

The 24-year-old Tanev has played in 42 games with the Jets so far this season. At the American Hockey League level, Tanev has three goals and nine points in 23 games, and adds his time with Moose head coach Pascal Vincent has made him a more confident player.

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

"I got the opportunity to play bigger minutes in the AHL. Pascal did a great job putting me in that situation," said Tanev. "Tonight I'm going to go out there and continue to play my game, play to my strengths, but at the same time, play with more confidence that I've developed the past month and ultimately try to help the team get two points."

Both games between the Jets and the Kings have gone past 60 minutes this season. The Jets won in a shootout back at MTS Centre in November, while the Kings squeaked out an overtime win over the Jets in January at Staples Center. 

Two points separate the Kings and the Jets in the standings, a gap that has been reduced due to Winnipeg's strong play over the last four games coupled with the fact Los Angeles has lost four of five games.

Connor Hellebuyck (23-18-4, 0.907 save percentage) was the first goaltender off the ice this morning and is expected to start for the Jets, while Ben Bishop (16-14-5, 0.910 save percentage) will counter for the Kings.

Puck drop is set for 9:30 pm CT.

Video: PREGAME | Brandon Tanev

LATE HITS

Maurice updated the status of Jacob Trouba today after the defenceman took part in the early line rushes this morning.

"We've got two defencemen who have never run that drill before," Maurice said with a grin. "So they didn't know what they were going to do. So the veterans went first."

The coach added that Trouba is "getting fairly close" and may get in the line-up tomorrow against Anaheim.

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets begin a two-game, two-day California road trip tonight at STAPLES Center against the Los Angeles Kings…The Jets extended their winning streak to three games with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at MTS Centre on Tuesday night…Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had a goal and two assists against the Flyers, while Mathieu Perreault had a goal and an assist…The Kings enter tonight's game after two losses in Alberta earlier this week…The Jets play for the second time in as many nights Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Pacific Blues

Tonight is the first of three consecutive games the Jets play against Pacific Division teams…The Jets are 5-11-1 against Pacific Division teams this season and have yet to beat one of the three teams in the division currently holding a divisional playoff spot - Anaheim, San Jose and Edmonton (0-7-0)…Last season, the Jets went 12-8-1 against Pacific Division opponents.

Breaching .500

With a 33-33-7 record, the Jets are back to .500 for the first time since Mar. 4…Tonight is the 14th time this season the Jets enter a game with a .500 record…Winnipeg is 1-10-2 this season in games in which they have a .500 record…The Jets only win this season when entering the game with a .500 was on Nov. 13 at home when they beat the Kings 3-2 in a shootout.

Lighting the Lamp

Since Feb. 14, the Jets have scored 54 goals in 15 games, which is tied for third in the NHL…Winnipeg's average of 3.6 goals per game since then leads the NHL…In their 15 games since Feb. 14, the Jets have scored three or more goals 13 times…The Jets have an 11.6% shooting percentage in their last 15 games, which is leads the NHL and 1.6% better than their 10% shooting percentage for the season.

The Road Ahead

The Jets are 10 points back of the Nashville Predators for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference and the Predators have one game in hand…Of the nine games the Jets have left in the regular season, six are against teams currently holding a playoff spot…The Jets have a combined record of 9-4-3 this season against the teams they have remaining on their schedule…Winnipeg's tragic number for being eliminated from playoff contention is eight.

Special Teams Notes

- The Jets are 7-for-38 (18.4%) on the power play in their last nine games and have scored a power play goal in four consecutive games (4-for-16, 25.0%).
- The Jets are 16-for-23 (69.6%) on the penalty kill in their last six games.
- Winnipeg has been shorthanded the most in the NHL this season at 252 times.
- The Jets have been shorthanded 83 times in the third period this season, which is the most in the league.

Top line Production

In the last four games, during which Winnipeg has gone 3-0-1, the Jets top line of Blake Wheeler (2g, 5a), Mark Scheifele (1g, 5a) and Mathieu Perreault (2g, 3a) have combined for 18 points…Wheeler and Scheifele have points in all four games, while Perreault has a point in each of the last three games.

Draft and Develop

On Tuesday against the Flyers, defenceman Nelson Nogier became the 14th player the Jets have drafted since the franchise returned in 2011 to play for the team…Nogier was drafted in the fourth round (101st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft…He also became the third member of the Jets to make this NHL debut this season, joining forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.

Jets vs. Kings All-Time Records

Overall: 12-12-1
At STAPLES Center: 4-7-1

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