|Kings, Jets hope recent wins start of better things|
When the Winnipeg Jets hit the ice Tuesday night, only one NHL team will have played more games, and the schedule will keep up its relentless demands with a contest against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.
The quantity of games, and not necessarily the quality, has the Jets near the top of the Central Division as they look to improve on a 2-3 home record and a minus-five goal differential over their first 10 contests.
Sunday's 1-0 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers showed some promise, at least from a defensive perspective, as the Jets ended a three-game home losing streak. Tuesday's matchup will mark the fifth of a six-game homestand that concludes Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
The Oilers rolled into Sunday's matchup with a 7-1-0 record and the NHL's best power play before the unexpected stumble. Edmonton went 0-for-2 with the man advantage but still lead the league at 38.5 percent.
Sunday's win also gave Jets head coach Paul Maurice his 700th NHL victory.
"It feels good to get the win in the fashion we did," Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. "As a coach, you probably want to win 1-0. I feel like that's probably the best reward or best 700th win we can give (Maurice)."
A little more offense might have been nice, but the Jets will take it any way they can get it.
"It's good to get a result," Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler said. "Obviously, it's been tough around here. I think the quality of our play isn't reflective of the results we're getting recently. So, it's good to finally get one."
The Kings also are relieved to have a breakthrough. Los Angeles ended a three-game losing streak and a two-game shutout streak with a 4-1 victory over the Flames on Saturday.
Shots on goal have not been an issue for the Kings. Finishing off scoring chances has been. The Kings have opened the season aggressively on offense, following a dreadful 2018-19 campaign, but they were blanked in consecutive games for the first time since February 2017.
The Kings found the finishing touch Saturday against the Flames, getting goals from Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk. The Kings even scored their first power-play goal in a span of six games.
"The whole group has been good," new Kings head coach Todd McLellan said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Analytically -- and I'm not a true, true believer in analytics -- there's a lot of positive things with our team. But the page you look at first is always the standings, and we're not where we'd like to be."
It makes Tuesday's game a test for each team to be the version of themselves they imagined when the season started.
The Kings will have to improve on a 1-2 road record so far and a minus-8 overall goal differential.
"There is a clear plan," McLellan said. "The team has to be restructured. It's trying to catch up with the modern game right now, if you will ... the youthfulness and creativity and the pace of the game. We're trying to catch up in that area."
--Field Level Media