February 28, 2015

The Los Angeles Kings' latest defeat didn't cost them any ground in the Pacific Division, and they now get a shot at extending their lead with games against the two worst teams in the Western Conference.

A stop in Winnipeg on Thursday night could extend the Kings' division lead to six points, while the Jets try for consecutive home wins for the first time in 2016.

The Kings (44-24-5), who follow this game with a visit from Edmonton on Saturday, are hoping to avoid losing three straight in regulation for the first time since the first three games of the season. The latest was Tuesday's 2-1 final in Minnesota as Anaheim and San Jose also failed to pick up a point.

Los Angeles outshot the Wild 39-18, but all it had to show for it was Tyler Toffoli's team-leading 27th goal. The forward matched his career-high 49 points from last season, but the Kings have five goals in three games.

"When you've got that many shots you've got to make sure you keep the goals against at one or two and score," said coach Darryl Sutter, whose team is out to avoid being swept on a three-game road trip. "That's how you make the playoffs, and that's how you win in the playoffs."

They might make it easier on themselves by scoring with a man advantage. Los Angeles again failed to score on the power play and fell to 0 for 18 in the last seven games. Winnipeg has also been terrible at 1 for 31 in its last 10, including 0 for 14 in the past five.

"I thought we had some decent looks," center Anze Kopitar said. "I thought Drew (Doughty) in particular had some really good shots, they didn't go in. When they're not going in, it's easy to get complacent and say, 'We were doing OK, we were doing OK,' but we've got to figure out how to score, that's the bottom line."

The Kings opened the season series with a 4-1 win in Winnipeg on Oct. 27, and the teams meet again April 9 in Los Angeles to conclude the regular season. Toffoli had a goal and an assist in the first meeting, and he, Doughty and Jeff Carter all have six points in their last four games in the series.

The Jets (30-37-6) are concluding a four-game homestand hoping for consecutive victories in Winnipeg for the first time since taking three straight Dec. 18-29. The 5-13-2 span that's followed is a huge reason the Jets went from fighting for a playoff spot to 13th in the West.

Tuesday's 2-0 win over Vancouver ended a three-game skid, but Winnipeg has been limited to five goals in the four-game span. Mark Scheifele scored to get within two of his career-best 49 points from last season in 20 fewer games.

The shutout might not have been anything to be all that proud of considering the Canucks have been blanked in 11 straight periods.

"It's good for the young guys to feel how it is to win the game," said Ondrej Pavelec after his first shutout since ending last season with three straight. "But another day is tomorrow and L.A. will come into our town so it will be probably a little bit of a different game."

Pavelec hasn't won consecutive games since last season and has a 3.02 goals-against average and .895 save percentage over a 3-6-1 span.

Jonathan Quick is 4-3-1 in nine games against the Winnipeg-Atlanta franchise with a 3.19 GAA and .882 save percentage - both career worsts versus any opponent.

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