Good morning from El Segundo, Insiders. When is it *not* a good morning in El Segundo?
-The Kings held an optional morning skate. Because all active players took the ice yesterday on the morning after a game, there weren’t a ton of players who earn heavy minutes on the ice this morning. No line rushes were held. Peter Budaj left the ice first and is expected to start in net against Winnipeg, while Tom Gilbert and Andy Andreoff remained on the ice for extra work with Jeff Zatkoff. Matt Greene came off in between the main game group and those who aren’t projected to play, so it’s likely that the lineup used against St. Louis will be used again tonight, with Greene potentially taking warm-ups. A confirmation will come during line rushes at 6:45 p.m. or so. (Note: Puck drop is 7:15 p.m. tonight.)
-The Jets are coming off a 4-3 loss in Arizona last night, a game in which they opened the scoring early but trailed 4-1 less than 15 minutes into the game. Speaking with reporters, Head Coach Paul Maurice said that the team yielded seven first period scoring chances as part of 14 chances against overall and hoped to get that number down to 10. “We can be better in all the small areas of the game, but they never quit,” he said of his team, which pulled within a goal of the Coyotes with 90 seconds to play. Maurice also acknowledged that the leadership group held a closed-door chat after the game’s conclusion. Michael Hutchinson entered the game midway through the first period and stopped 22 of 23 shots. There’s no confirmation of who will start in net against the Kings, but for what it’s worth, Connor Hellebuyck, who has been pulled in each of Winnipeg’s last two games, is skating with presumed scratches Julian Melchiori and Brandon Tanev at Toyota Sports Center this morning, so Hutchinson seems to be a safe bet.
Paul Maurice gives his view of the 4-3 loss to Arizona to open the road trip. pic.twitter.com/En9Wc1nOqG
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) January 14, 2017
-A few notes: Winnipeg has won five of their last six games against Los Angeles. All four Winnipeg/Atlanta wins at Staples Center have come in either overtime or a shootout (12/19/00: ATL 7, LAK 6, OT; 2/16/09: ATL 7, LAK 6, SO; 1/10/15: WPG 5, LAK 4, SO; 4/9/16: WPG 4, LAK 3, SO). The franchise has allowed at least three goals against in all 11 games against the Kings at Staples Center, and has allowed at least four in nine of the 11 games. The Jets ranks second in the league with 22 goals scored in January, an average of 3.7 per game. While Los Angeles is 7-1-0 on Saturdays (and 7-0-0 at home), having outscored their opponents 26-13, Winnipeg is 1-5-0 on Saturdays this season, having been outscored 26-14. All six Jets Saturday games have taken place on the road. Rookie phenom Patrik Laine (concussion) did not travel on the road trip, while Marko Dano (lower-body) and Tyler Myers (lower-body) are also on injured reserve.
-Jari Kurri will be honored in a pre-game ceremony as part of the final Legends Night of the season. “Jari Kurri’s a great player,” Darryl Sutter said. “I don’t remember him much in L.A., but I do remember him lots in Edmonton because Chicago and Edmonton were two really good teams and I had to play against Jari Kurri. I guess that’s not a surprise to anybody, but his best years were there. He had a hard, accurate shot.” The Kings will wear their mid-90’s alternate jerseys in warm-ups.
-Sutter quotes will follow shortly, and then later this afternoon I’ll post a story on game planning for particular goaltenders. If you’re near a computer or mobile device at 5:30 p.m., I’ll join Hustler and Lawless on TSN 1290 Winnipeg. Click here to listen live. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.