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Game Day Preview #35, Winnipeg Jets @ Los Angeles Kings

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Arctic Ice Hockey

someone who is good at the economy please help me. my team is dying

Eight players on some sort of injury watch. Alec Martinez is still at least a couple of weeks away. Ilya Kovalchuk, Kyle Clifford, and Jack Campbell have all resumed some sort of skating, but aren’t ready yet. My dad, a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, texted me the other day to ask about what happened to Carl Hagelin. The most we’ve seen from Jonny Brodzinski lately is a sweet holiday onesie photo he posted on his Instagram stories the other day. The team is dead last in goals scored, and 28th on the power play and penalty kill alike. There’s not just one thing killing this team, there’s like 17 different things, and only one of them is the coach, who frequently seems at a loss as to what to do in literally every given scenario. I know it would be great and really useful to include some sort of great analysis or insight in this portion of the game preview but my goodness, this team is just so, so frustrating.

Lineup Notes

Adrian Kempe at wing? Adrian Kempe at wing! In perhaps the only move of Willie Desjardins’ so far that makes any sense to me, Kempe’s getting a shot at second line left wing, skating alongside Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. Nikita Scherbak and Brendan Leipsic head to the fourth line to skate with Nate Thompson; I don’t entirely know what that line’s going to do, but also: whatever.

The third line is one that I’m sure saw some ice time in Ontario, with Austin Wagner and Matt Luff being centered by Mike Amadio. While that trio is one with just a collective 102 games of NHL experience, they have familiarity with each other and could be the kind of line that other teams underestimate. Luff is proving himself to be quite the find, and if nothing else is going right about this season, Luff forcing his way into the conversation for a regular role on this team has been a delight.

The Opposition

Perhaps the worst thing about putting together the stats chart for our regular stats/lineup/discussion post (coming to you 30 minutes before puck drop, 82 games a year!) is having an acute awareness of exactly how many points players on other teams have.

For example: Patrik Laine has more goals (23) than the Kings’ leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, has points (21). It takes the three top goal scorers for the Kings [Dustin Brown – 9, Anze Kopitar – 8, Matt Luff – 7 (yes, Matt Luff, honestly)] to match Laine’s output. In fact, the Kings are one of just two teams to not have a 10+ goal scorer. (The Arizona Coyotes are the other; the Anaheim Ducks are next with just one, waiver pickup Pontus Aberg.)

What’s it like to be a fan of a team who scores goals? Is that even a real thing? What’s it like, Winnipeg watchers? Is it like, every time Patrik Laine scores, a Finnish angel gets a patchy beard? That’s honestly a pretty fair trade-off.

Anyhow, the Jets are a truly terrifying team who I enjoy watching for however many other games a year they play that are not against the Los Angeles Kings. They currently sit atop the Central Division, are second in the league behind Tampa Bay, and have won nine of their last ten. (Their only recent loss was a 1-0 shut-out to the St. Louis Blues.) They have the league’s best power play, converting at 30.8% and while their penalty kill is just so-so (thirteenth in the league, 80.6%), who even cares when Patrik Laine scores at will? They take a ton of shots, Connor Hellebuyck looks good again so even if the Jets allow more shots than expected, he still stops whatever comes his way, and if Laine somehow doesn’t score, he’s got Mark Scheifele (21 goals) and Kyle Connor (13 goals) right behind him to pick up the slack.

Also, look at Mathieu Perreault’s headshot, for crying out loud:


adrian kempe has some work to do to match this flow

I want to watch the Jets run roughshod over literally every other team in the league, but also, like, tonight: could you not, Jets?

Quick, Watch This

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