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Game Day Preview: Kings @ Jets

Home is where the heart is but the Winnipeg Jets will probably just take the win if they can when they host the Los Angeles Kings tonight in the team’s regular season home opener.

Jets vs. Kings

When: Friday, October 4, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m. CST

Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Records: Winnipeg (1-0-0), Los Angeles (1-0-0)

Television/Radio: FS-W, TSN-Jets/TSN 1290 Radio

The Story:  Home is where the heart is but the Winnipeg Jets will probably just take the win if they can when they host the Los Angeles Kings tonight in the team’s regular season home opener (7:00 p.m. CST, TSN-Jets/TSN 1290).

The Jets won their first game of the season on Tuesday, a come from behind 5-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, but it was the play of rookies Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba that has the entire hockey world talking. Scheifele scored a beautiful goal in the first period of Tuesday’s game and was generally a force all night playing on a line with Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi while Trouba earned the game’s first star, scoring the game’s tying-goal and adding an assist in his NHL debut. Although it is just one game, Scheifele and Trouba gave us a glimpse of their incredible skills and the bright future that lies ahead for the Jets.

Tonight, the Jets will face a much more difficult opponent in the Los Angeles Kings, the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions and defending Western Conference Finalists. The Kings opened their season last night in Minnesota with a 3-2 shootout victory and will be looking to build on that momentum tonight in Winnipeg. As Ed Tait pointed out in Thursday’s edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, the Jets should expect a physical contest tonight as the Kings love to mix it up, led by Captain Dustin Brown (156 hits last year, 8th in the NHL last season), and Kyle Clifford (155 hits, tied for 9th last year)

Los Angeles is essentially the same team that went to the Western Conference Finals last year with the notable changes coming in net and on the wing. The Kings traded long-time backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs in late June in return for winger Matt Frattin and goaltender Ben Scrivens. Frattin has been skating on the left wing on the team’s second line alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and was quite impressive in the pre-season, leading the Kings in points (1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points). Scrivens will back up Quick, who is looking to regain his 2012 Conn Smythe winning form this year.

Another significant addition for the Kings this season is Willie Mitchell, who has actually been on the team since 2010’11. The 36-year-old Mitchell didn’t play a single game for the Kings last year as he was recovering from a serious injury but he is back and healthy and will be a key part of the Kings defense this year.

A key matchup to look out for tonight is the top d pairing of Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr against the Jets top line of Ladd-Little-Wheeler. The Kings are playing back-to-back games while the Jets have had the last two days off so there may be an advantage there for Jets Head Coach Claude Noel to exploit there however the Kings are a very composed team who find many different ways to win games.

There shouldn’t be any lineup changes for the Jets tonight as Grant Clitsome is still out with a lower-body injury which means Paul Postma will dress again for Winnipeg.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets.

Jonathan Quick is expected to start in net for the Kings tonight.

Winnipeg Jets Line Combinations:

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Devin Setoguchi
Eric Tangradi-Olli Jokinen-Michael Frolik
James Wright-Jim Slater-Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom-Dustin Byfuglien
Jacob Trouba-Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart-Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec
Al Montoya

Healthy Scratches: Anthony Peluso, Matt Halischuk, Adam Pardy

Los Angeles Kings Line Combinations:

Dwight King-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Matt Frattin-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
Dustin Brown–Jarret Stoll-Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser-Jordan Nolan

Robyn Regehr-Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell-Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin-Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Ben Scrivens

Healthy Scratches: Daniel Carcillo, Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez

Injury Report:

Los Angeles Kings: None

Winnipeg Jets:  Grant Clitsome (lower body)

QUICKIES…In Tuesday’s season opener between the Jets/Oilers, Jacob Trouba led all players with 25:02 in ice time…..Dustin Byfuglien’s Stat Line from Tuesday (24:09 TOI, 3 assists, 6 penalty minutes, 5 hits, four blocked shots)…..On Thursday, Winnipeg signed 2013 1st round pick Josh Morrissey to a three-year, two-way, entry level contract (average annual value of $1,425,000)…..