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Kings eye first division title since 1991

Los Angeles can clinch Pacific Division with win against Jets or Anaheim loss

by Curtis Zupke / Correspondent

JETS (34-39-8) at KINGS (48-28-5)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; SN, PRIME, NHL.TV

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings can win their first division title since 1991, but their main focus is playing well in their regular-season finale against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on Saturday.

The Kings will clinch the Pacific Division before the game starts if the Anaheim Ducks lose to the Colorado Avalanche, but a win Saturday would trigger it regardless and would also mean they're heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on a high note.

"I think, for us, it's just playing a good hockey game," defenseman Rob Scuderi said at the Kings' practice facility. "We want to build [off] the last three games. I thought we struggled pretty good coming down the stretch. We already clinched a playoff spot. But you can't just flip the switch right away in the playoffs. You want to be playing good hockey."

The Kings only other division title was in 1990-91 when it was called the Smythe Division and Wayne Gretzky led them with 163 points. Los Angeles can get to 103 points, its most since a team record 105 points in 1974-75. 

Goalie Jonathan Quick can extend his team record with his 41st win. He got the record against the Ducks on Thursday and has 40 of the Kings' 48 wins. 

The Kings face a hurdle in Winnipeg, which has played spoiler with wins against the Ducks and San Jose Sharks on its season-ending California trip. The Jets did not skate at Staples Center but goalie Michael Hutchinson is expected to start, according to the Winnipeg Sun. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Marko Dano - Alexander Burmistrov - Drew Stafford

Brandon Tanev - Adam Lowry - Chris Thorburn

Nicolas Petan - Andrew Copp - Joel Armia

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Julian Melchiori - Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Tyler Myers (knee), Bryan Little (back), Toby Enstrom (knee), Anthony Peluso (shoulder), Mathieu Perreault (concussion), JC Lipon (upper body)

Scratched: Brenden Kichton


Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Tanner Pearson

Dustin Brown - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Vincent Lecavalier - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Kris Versteeg

Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Luke Schenn

Jamie McBain - Rob Scuderi

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Marian Gaborik (knee), Alec Martinez (undisclosed), Matt Greene (shoulder)

Scratched: Kevin Gravel, Nic Dowd, Nick Shore

Status report: Quick was off the ice first. The Kings' lines and defensemen combinations were unchanged from their previous game. Martinez has not skated.

Who's hot: Wheeler has a career-high 10-game point streak, one short of Marian Hossa's franchise record set in 2006-07. … Scheifele has a career-high nine-game point streak. … Lucic has three goals in his past two games. … Kopitar has three assists in his past two games. 

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