Tanner Pearson said he didn’t get birthday boy Martin Jones a present – “living with me is a good enough birthday present,” he joked – on a day in which the biggest gift the Kings could receive would come in the form of two standings points.
Los Angeles faces Winnipeg at Staples Center tonight in a match-up of a pair of teams sitting on 47 points through 41 games. Because of the new postseason format, tonight’s game is an important battle between two clubs that would prefer to ascend from a Wild Card position and back into the divisional playoff mix.
“We’re in that seven, eight spot, so we want to move up to a three in our division and four [teams] are pretty tight right now,” Pearson said. “We’ve got to kind of string these home games along as much as we can and have a good homestand for the time being. Then, refocus after the All-Star break.”
While the Kings remain two points up on Calgary with a game in hand, Winnipeg is facing a push from Dallas and Colorado, two teams that have been hot as of late. The Avalanche defeated the Stars 4-3 on Saturday, so the Avs, who are 8-3-0 in their last 11, will enter this evening’s games three points out of a playoff spot with one more game played than the Kings and Jets.
The Jets made a roster move on Saturday, activating defensemen Mark Stuart and Tobias Enstrom and forward Evander Kane from injured reserve. All three are expected to play tonight.
As for the Kings personnel, three particular players are looking to find consistency in their game and build off some good work against the Rangers on Thursday.
“I think in Vancouver we had a pretty strong game,” Pearson said of the Pearson-Carter-Toffoli line, which was reunited during the Western Canada road trip. “Then, back at home, I think we got away from it. I don’t think we played to our potential. I think last game, we started playing our way again. We scored a goal out of it forechecking and Jeff going down the wing and just being in front of the net. I think we’ve got to keep that going and keep on looking at the other plays we’re doing and go from there.”