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JNGD.S8.G34 Flight Plan: Jets Start West Coast Trip In LA-LA-Land

You know how last week when you watched the Chicago Blackhawks stumble their way through two losses to the Winnipeg Jets and you thought, “man, this team used to be good and now they’re kinda struggling”? The thing about that is that it wasn’t completely unexpected. Chicago knew going into this season they were in a bit of a transition year and while they’ve tried to patch things with with a rebuild on-the-fly, over in Los Angeles the plan seemed to be for the team to contend, even going as far as signing 35 year old Ilya Kovalchuk from the KHL to a 3 year, $18,750,000 million contract.

For as bad as things have gone in Chicago, they don’t even match the disaster that’s become the Los Angeles Kings. The team has been crippled by a series of injuries to some rather key players, and age has slowed down the team a notch.

Winnipeg Jets (22-9-2 / 1st Central)
@
Los Angeles Kings (11-20-3 / 8th Central)

December 18, 2018 – Puck drop: 9:30 PM CST
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
TV: TSN 3 – Radio: TSN 1290

vs TBL: 5-4 OT Win Last Game @ PIT: 4-3 Loss
5-0-0 (3 OTW) Last 5 Games 1-2-2 (1 OTL)
Patrik Laine – 23 Goal Leader Dustin Brown – 9
Blake Wheeler – 39 Assist Leader Drew Doughty – 16
Mark Scheifele – 46 Points Leader Anze Kopitar – 21
30.84% (1st) The Power Play 14.29% (28th)
80.61% (13th) The Penalty Kill 74.04% (29th)
Connor Hellebuyck
(15-8-1 / .908 Sv%)
Starting Goalie Jonathan Quick
(2-8-2 / .892Sv%)
OTW vs TBL / 43-47 .915 Sv% Last Goalie Start OTL @ PIT / 32-36 .889 Sv%
9-5-0 On Road Road v Home Record 7-10-1 At Home

Winnipeg Jet To Watch

#27 Nikolaj Ehlers – Left Wing

Remember at the start of the season when Nik Ehlers wasn’t scoring – he went the first nine games of the season without scoring – and in fact his scoring slump could be traced all the way back to a rather pedestrian 2018 playoff run and there were all sorts of concerns that maybe he was being overpaid and that if the Jets do need salary cap relief, he’d be the guy to move on?

After capping off November with a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks, he’s earned points in six of the nine games he’s played in December which includes a stretch over the last five games of three goals and four assists.

While players like Laine, Wheeker and Scheifele have been getting all the attention, Nik Ehlers has quietly re-established himself as a dependable, speedy forward who excels at carrying the puck into the zone and generating scoring chances off the rush.

Against a rather old and slower Kings defense, a player like Ehlers could have himself a big night with the puck.

Nik Ehlers Last Five Games
Scor Scor Scor
Date Tm Opp G A PTS +/- PIM S S% SHFT TOI
2018-12-16 WPG TBL W 2 1 3 1 0 5 40.0 24 19:58
2018-12-14 WPG @ CHI W 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.0 18 14:02
2018-12-13 WPG EDM W 1 0 1 0 0 2 50.0 26 20:30
2018-12-11 WPG CHI W 0 1 1 0 0 5 0.0 19 14:29
2018-12-09 WPG PHI W 0 2 2 0 0 1 0.0 21 15:50

Last Jets Game

It was an instant classic. Two of the best teams squared off in Winnipeg and traded scoring chances and leads. The Jets finally out-lasted the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime to extend their winning streak to five games while putting a halt to Tampa’s eight game winning run.

Jets Notebook

  • The Jets have only lost two games in a row just once this season and no more than that. The two losses happened November 21 and 23 to Calgary and Minnesota respectively. Out of the 11 total losses the Jets have had this season (nine in regulation, two in overtime) the Jets have rebounded to go on winning streaks of three or more games four times.
  • Winnipeg has scored four or more goals in each of their last five games and eight of their last ten games.
  • The Jets will continue their west coast swing this week with games in San Jose on Thursday night and Vancouver on Saturday night before entering the Christmas break. Sleep is overrated, right?
  • Players who are so hot right now: Mathieu Perreault has a goal in four straight games and points in his last five games and eight of his last nine played. Dustin Byfuglien has points in five straight games (1G, 7A), Mark Scheifele has a five game points streak and the last three games have been three point efforts while four of his last five games played have been three point games. Blake Wheeler has a five game points streak and at least a point in 11 of his last 12 games played. Brandon Tanev has a goal in three of his last five games played.

Los Angeles King To Watch

#11 Anze Kopitar – Center

After a resurgent 92 point season last season which included a Hart Trophy nomination as league MVP and a Selke Trophy victory for league’s best defensive forward, there was every reason to believe that a healthy Kopitar would be able to help lead the Kings back to the playoffs this season especially when you considered that he could be put on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk, but as has gone with the Kings as a team this season has proven to be a bit of a struggle for the 31 year old center.

Kopitar’s shooting percentage has dipped. A career 12.5% shooter, this season he’s down to 10.8% He has also yet to register a goal on the power play.

There is a chance that he could bounce back this season and get back on a 20 goal pace. If the Kings are to have any chance at salvaging this season, they’ll need him to re-find his form quickly.

Last Kings Game

Los Angeles showed some jam on the road in a tough building to play in as they fell behind 2-0 early in the first period but managed to battle back and push the Pittsburgh Penguins to overtime when a Phil Kessel goal late in the OT period sunk the Kings for a second straight OT loss.

Kings Notebook

Global Winnipeg: Winnipeg’s Brendan Leipsic claimed by Los Angeles Kings off waivers – The injury riddled Kings got a little bit of help in the form of a waiver wire pick up from the Vancouver Canucks.

The Hockey news: Ilya Kovalchuk is being wasted on the Kings fourth lineBefore his injury, the Kings weren’t exactly utilizing a very productive Kovalchuk in the most ideal way.

The Kings are seriously hurting on the injury front and one look at this list gives you an indication as to why this season has been a struggle like it has (keeping in mind that Jonathan Quick had also missed a serious amount of time and has only recently come back from IR):  Goalie Jack Campbell is on the IR with a knee injury. Defensmen Dion Phaneuf (upper body, day-to-day), Alec Martinez (upper body, IR) are both out. At forward is where they’ve been hit hardest as Ilya Kovalchuk (ankle, IR), Kyle Clifford (upper body, day-to-day), Carl Hagelin (lower body, IR), Trevor Lewis (foot, IR) and Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder, IR) are all out.

Player ratings courtesy Corsica.Hockey
Lines as of 1:15AM CST Dec. 18, 2018

Be sure to check out our Twitter feed for any late mid-day updates to the game lineups!
You can also get up to the minute lineup combos for the Jets
including power play and penalty kill lines by checking out our line combo page.

Winnipeg Jets Lines

LW C RW Forwards
Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 76.3#24 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 87.8#3 C

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 81.4#6 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 81.82#3 FL1
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 77.9#18 LW

Bryan Little
BRYAN LITTLE

Rating: 73.9#63 C

Patrik Laine
PATRIK LAINE

Rating: 82.2#3 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.99#4 FL2
Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 73.9#64 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 73.0#80 C

Brandon Tanev
BRANDON TANEV

Rating: 71.6#81 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.82#8 FL3
Brendan Lemieux
BRENDAN LEMIEUX

Rating: 71.6#82 LW

Jack Roslovic
JACK ROSLOVIC

Rating: 70.0#161 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON
FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.80#7 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 75.7#23 LD

Jacob Trouba
JACOB TROUBA

Rating: 76.9#18 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.31#10 DL1
Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT

Rating: 71.2#93 LD

Dustin Byfuglien
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN

Rating: 81.5#5 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 76.39#2 DL2
Dmitry Kulikov
DMITRY KULIKOV

Rating: 70.8#104 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 75.6#27 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.22#4 DL3
GOALIES
Connor Hellebuyck
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK

Rating: 75.8#15 G1

Laurent Brossoit
LAURENT BROSSOIT

Rating: 66.8#61 G2

Los Angeles Kings Lines

LW C RW Forwards
Alex Iafallo
ALEX IAFALLO

Rating: 71.5#85 LW

Anze Kopitar
ANZE KOPITAR

Rating: 79.0#25 C

Dustin Brown
DUSTIN BROWN

Rating: 77.6#21 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.05#20 FL1
Brendan Leipsic
BRENDAN LEIPSIC

Rating: 70.8#102 LW

Jeff Carter
JEFF CARTER

Rating: 74.5#56 C

Matt Luff
MATT LUFF

Rating: 73.2#58 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 72.81#24 FL2
Nikita Scherbak
NIKITA SCHERBAK

Rating: 71.4#88 LW

Adrian Kempe
ADRIAN KEMPE

Rating: 70.3#154 C

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 73.9#44 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.86#13 FL3
Austin Wagner
AUSTIN WAGNER

Rating: 72.2#68 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 67.9#184 C

Mike Amadio
MIKE AMADIO

Rating: 71.1#91 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.39#13 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Oscar Fantenberg
OSCAR FANTENBERG

Rating: 70.9#102 LD

Drew Doughty
DREW DOUGHTY

Rating: 79.7#11 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 75.29#15 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 76.0#20 LD

Paul Ladue
PAUL LADUE

Rating: 73.6#36 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.80#10 DL2
Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 72.7#58 LD

Sean Walker
SEAN WALKER
DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.70#8 DL3
GOALIES
Jonathan Quick
JONATHAN QUICK

Rating: 77.7#8 G1

Cal Petersen
CAL PETERSEN

The Game Officials

Referees: Steve Kozari (40) & Pierre Lambert (37)

Linesmen: Darren Gibbs (66) & Tim Nowak (77)