After taking three out of a possible four points on a mini two-game road trip, the Winnipeg Jets return to the friendly confines of the MTS Centre as they’re set to welcome the Los Angeles Kings for a Sunday afternoon affair.
More injury woes for the Jets. Mathieu Perreault was placed on IR due to an upper body injury. He will be out indefinitely. The Jets did call up Quinton Howden from the Manitoba Moose as an emergency. Howden is having a fine season on the farm, registering 9 points (7G, 2A) in 11 games.
Howden is a left winger so if he’s inserted into the lineup, it will force Paul Maurice to do more juggling with the lineup. Ideally, either Alexander Burmistrov or Chris Thorburn sits and either Marko Dano or Andrew Copp move into different roles. We shall see what Maurice decides.
Tyler Myers left Friday’s game against Colorado with a lower body injury. His status for Sunday’s game is unknown as of press time. If Myers can’t go, Paul Postma will be in the lineup and Jacob Trouba will see more minutes in his second game back.
With every game, Josh Morrissey is getting more comfortable on the Jets blueline. While his offensive numbers are slow in coming, his awareness and physicality are at NHL level.
Expect Connor Hellebuyck to get the start between the pipes. He had a solid outing Thursday night in Arizona, stopping 23 out of 25 shots for a .920 save percentage. Michael Hutchinson started Friday in Colorado and he wasn’t as sharp, stopping 25 out of 28 shots for a .893 save percentage, including an embarrassing own goal in overtime.
Los Angeles (7-8-0)
It”s a homecoming for Devin Setoguchi as he’ll go up against his former team. In case you have forgotten, Setoguchi spent the 2013-14 season with the Jets, recording 27 points (11G, 16A) in 75 games. After a brief stint in Calgary, Setoguchi missed the entire 2015-16 season as he entered rehab to deal with his alcoholism.
Setoguchi’s time in Winnipeg wasn’t successful, but it is good to see him turn his life around.
The pairing of Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez are enjoying strong possession numbers so far this season. Martinez is at 57.0% corsi while Martinez has a 56.5% corsi. If the Jets want to take advantage of the Kings blueline, the pairing of Kevin Gravel and Matt Greene are prone to be trapped in their own end. Gravel’s corsi is at 49.2% while Greene’s 45.0% is worst on the Kings. A vulnerable pairing to be sure.
Expect Peter Budaj to get the start for the Kings. Budaj was Jets property back in the 2014-15 season, but he spent that season with St. John’s.
Budaj has put up decent numbers since Jonathan Quick went down on opening night. In 13 appearances, Budaj has posted a .912 save percentage and 2 shutouts. It’ll be interesting to see if Budaj can maintain these numbers until Quick returns.
Game Prediction: The Kings may be tired as they are on the fourth game of a five game road trip. Afternoon games can be sleepy affairs but Kings vs Jets are usually fun games. Jets win 5-3.
Obvious Prediction: There will be some angry people on Twitter when they realize the end of the Jets game will overlap with the start of the Bombers game.
Not So Obvious Prediction: Nikolaj Ehlers will bounce back from his own goal Friday night by scoring the winning goal in the right net.