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Kings focus on improving home play as Jets visit

by Brian Hunter

JETS (33-32-9) at KINGS (43-25-6)


Last 10: Winnipeg 3-5-2; Los Angeles 7-3-0

Season series: This is the third and final game between the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings. The teams split a pair of games at MTS Centre. Devin Setoguchi scored twice in the third period as the Jets won 5-3 on Oct. 4. The Kings responded with a 3-1 victory on March 6, outshooting the Jets by a 41-18 margin.

Big story: While there's little chance of Los Angeles making a run at the Pacific Division title with only eight games remaining, or even home ice in an anticipated 2-3 matchup against either the San Jose Sharks or Anaheim Ducks, the streaky Kings are once again racking up the victories. After their eight-game win streak was snapped earlier this month they lost three in a row, but they've currently won five straight.

Team Scope:

Jets: Nine points out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with eight games remaining, the math doesn't look good for Winnipeg but the team continues to battle. The Jets overcame a pair of one-goal deficits and got a late power-play goal from Tobias Enstrom on Thursday to win 4-3 against the Sharks and put a crimp in their bid to win the Pacific.

"We have to play hard for the faith in the room and the confidence in the room that we're going to learn to do things the same way at the same pace every single night regardless of what our surroundings or our circumstances," coach Paul Maurice said. "Whether it's injuries, whatever we're fighting against -- right now it's the emotions of being on the far side of a playoff race -- we have to learn to come out and compete just like that."

Kings: This is the start of a three-game homestand for Los Angeles, which won't play again at Staples Center after that until the regular-season finale on April 12. It looks like the Kings will start the playoffs on the road, but that hardly seems to matter considering they've now won eight straight there following a 3-2 win Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

These next few games against the Jets, Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes will not only be about trying to extend their overall win streak, but establishing a presence in their own building. The Kings are 21-13-3 at home compared to 22-13-3 on the road.

"When you look at the difference between us and the top teams in the League, their home records reflect what we don't have at home," captain Dustin Brown said in the Los Angeles Times, "and that's just a matter of us having that grind mentality at home."

Who's hot: Jets forward Bryan Little has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. … Kings defenseman Alec Martinez has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

Injury report: Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec (lower body) has been practicing and could return Saturday. Defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower body) has missed three of the past four games. He practiced Friday in a no-contact jersey. Defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) and forwards James Wright (ankle), Mark Scheifele (knee) and Chris Thorburn (foot) are all sidelined.

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