What we learned from the Kings’ 4-3 win over Winnipeg
The Kings were set up for failure Tuesday and they knew it.
The Winnipeg Jets had been home since the All-Star break, a run of 10 straight games at Bell MTS Place in which they were 6-2-1. They were going for a franchise-record tying 24th home win.
The Kings? They were at the end of a seven-game journey, having played the previous night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
They didn’t need the situation to be galvanized into action — the playoff race is enough to light that fire — but their 4-3 victory was a true team win.
Here’s what we learned:
The Kings’ depth has paid off. A show of hands for those who predicted that the Kings would be getting contributions from Torrey Mitchell, Andy Andreoff and Michael Amadio at this time of the season.
Those contributions come as the Kings await the return of Trevor Lewis and Jeff Carter.
Mitchell is still a strong skater at 33. He moved to the second line with Adrian Kempe and Tanner Pearson and has utilized his speed and forechecking well.
“It’s just a little bit different elements where Adrian can plays in the middle of the ice, Tanner’s looking to get to the net and Mitchie carries a lot of speed and can help in the faceoff circle,” coach John Stevens said. “Those guys have been excited about playing together and they’ve really helped us.”
Pearson is going to the net. Pearson is the first to admit his production has been disappointing. He has 10 goals in 60 games. But he’s made his mark by screening goalies and making life difficult for opponents.
He created a screen for Alec Martinez’s goal and has been effective in that regard. The scoring figures to even out some for Pearson, a 24-goal scorer last season who the Kings have pegged as part of their future, along with Tyler Toffoli.
The Jets could be an interesting playoff team. Tuesday was a good look at one of the more difficult teams to play against in the Western Conference. Winnipeg doesn’t do anything flashy but plays a basic hard-nosed game that should work well come playoff time. Mark Scheifele has solidified himself as one of the game’s best centers and Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine are solid finishers.
The Jets might lack the marquee names of other contenders, but it’s a good bet that not a lot of teams are eager to face them in a playoff series.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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