Two teams hurtling in opposite directions will meet up Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Kings host the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center.
The Jets (22-9-2) have won a season-high five straight games, taking the past three in overtime, and they have won nine of 10 overall. Winnipeg knocked off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in overtime Sunday to move atop the Central Division.
The Kings (11-20-3) have lost four in a row and six of seven. They own the fewest points in the NHL (25) and have yet to earn a point in three consecutive games this season.
Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said frustration continues to build in the dressing room, but it’s important the players release their tension in positive ways.
“We have to stick together as a team, that’s first and foremost, and everyone grab a shovel and start digging,” he told reporters after a 4-3 overtime road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. “If we start pointing fingers, the team crumbles. I believe in this team. Obviously, we have a lot of guys hurt, but we can’t be making excuses, we have to come together as a team and get out of this together.”
Los Angeles is the lowest-scoring team in the NHL at 2.18 goals a game, a good distance from the Arizona Coyotes, the second-lowest scoring team (2.50).
Winnipeg, meanwhile, has combined for 27 goals in its five-game winning streak to move to fourth in the NHL at 3.64 goals a game.
Patrik Laine had a four-game point streak end in the win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, but Mark Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien each extended his point streaks to five games, and Mathieu Perreault scored a goal for the fourth consecutive game.
“Right now, I’m just riding the wave,” Perreault told the Winnipeg Sun before Sunday’s win. “It’s been that way for my entire career, really. I’ve been a streaky player, not that my game gets any different, but sometimes the bounces go your way and, right now, that’s what has happened. Obviously, it gives you more confidence when pucks are going in. … You feel like the net’s a little bigger.”
Scheifele’s point streak consists of five goals and nine assists, which moved him to fifth in the NHL with 46 points. He scored a goal against the Kings for the first time in his career in a 2-1 win in Winnipeg on Oct. 9.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is expected to start against the Jets. Quick has struggled in his career against Winnipeg, owning a 4-5-2 record, 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage. The Jets are the only NHL team averaging more than three goals a game against Quick.
Quick, who was injured and did not play in the loss to the Jets earlier this season, said he views each matchup with a clean slate.
“It doesn’t matter if we won the last 10 or lost the last 10,” he said. “It’s a one-day-at-a-time job.”