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Kings host Jets in season finale, look to claim Pacific title

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

REGULAR SEASON FINALE: Tonight marks the third and final meeting with the Jets this season as well as Winnipeg’s lone visit to STAPLES Center. The Jets are completing a three-game road swing through California where they’ve gone 2-0-0 thus far; they’re coming off of a 5-4 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The Kings are completing a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

CAPPING OFF A GREAT CAMPAIGN: “We had a great regular season,” Darryl Sutter said following the morning skate. “When you’ve done all your analysis, you’re going to say that this team had a great regular season. Home, road, opponents, goals for, goals against. You’ll look and say that in the 50 years that keeps getting brought up, that it’s maybe in all those areas it might be the best regular season they’ve ever had.”

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Line rushes indicated no changes to be made from the units used Thursday night against Anaheim. Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, and Kevin Gravel remained on the ice for extra work with Jhonas Enroth and are the night’s presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender to leave the ice and will start in net.







THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings have split their two previous meetings with the Jets this season, both games taking place at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, winning 4-1 on October 27 and losing 4-1 on March 24. Jeff Carter (3A) and Drew Doughty (3A) lead all Kings players in points scored against the Jets this season, five different players have recorded a goal. Jonathan Quick has started both games against Winnipeg, stopping 44 of the combined 48 shots he’s faced. The Winnipeg Jets have never won a game in regulation at STAPLES Center, dating back to their first visit as the Atlanta Thrashers on December 8, 1999.

LOOKING TO CLINCH: The Kings can clinch the second Division Title in franchise history tonight; the team won the Smythe Division during the 1990-’91 season, where they finished campaign with a 46-24-10 record with 102 points, two ahead of the second-place Calgary Flames. The Anaheim Ducks play the Colorado Avalanche today at 2:30 PM PST at the Pepsi Center, the results of that game plays into the Kings’ fate tonight. Here are the three scenarios in which the Kings could clinch:

  • Anaheim loses in regulation to Colorado
  • Los Angeles beats Winnipeg in any fashion
  • Anaheim loses in overtime/shootout to Colorado and Los Angeles loses in overtime/shootout to Winnipeg

POINTS APLENTY: Not only can the Kings clinch their division tonight, but they can surpass the point-total that earned them their first and only division title in 1990-’91. With a win, the Kings will finish the season with 103 points; they totaled 102 in 1990-’91. If the Kings are to finish with 103 points, it will be the second-most in franchise history since the team earned 105 during the 1974-’75 campaign.

FINISHING STRONG: Although it’s been a disappointing season for the Jets, they’ve finished the year respectably, having earned points in four-straight games while beating playoff teams in their previous three contests. Winnipeg has averaged four goals per game during the month of April, and buried five against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. Can the Kings put a halt on the Jets’ hot finish?

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 6:30 PM PST on Prime Ticket, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:00. You can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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