(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of struggling Western Conference teams will fight for a much-needed win on Saturday when the Los Angeles Kings host the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center.
The Jets and Kings both enter tonight's battle having lost four of their last five games. Despite the recent slides, the teams are currently in playoff position as they are tied for the conference's two wild card spots at 47 points.
Los Angeles has suffered through an inconsistent 2014-15 after claiming its second Stanley Cup title in three years last spring. The club has even struggled at home lately, losing two straight and three of its past four games in L.A. after beginning the season with a 13-4-1 record at the Staples Center.
The Kings have lost two straight to begin a seven-game homestand and fell to 14-5-3 as the host this season following a regulation loss in Thursday's Stanley Cup Finals rematch against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers fell in five games to L.A. for the Cup last spring, but the Blueshirts won the first encounter between the clubs in 2014-15. New York recorded a 4-3 win behind a 28-save performance from backup goaltender Cam Talbot.
The Kings led New York 2-0 after a pair of first-period goals, but New York scored four straight to claim control. Justin Williams' second goal of the game with 4:03 remaining in the third made it a one-goal game and LA went on a power play following Rick Nash's tripping penalty with 36 seconds left, but Talbot turned aside the only shot he saw before the final horn sounded.
Tanner Pearson also found the back of the net, but Jonathan Quick was responsible for all four goals on 26 shots.
"You can't give up four goals in a game and expect to win, ever," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The good news for the Kings is they have won their last three games against Winnipeg, including a 4-1 win in L.A. on Oct. 12. Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter each posted a goal and an assist in the victory, while Kings backup Martin Jones earned the win with 29 saves.
The October win also marked L.A.'s third straight home win over the Jets. The Kings own a 7-0-2 mark at the in nine all-time meetings at the Staples Center against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.
While the Kings have managed to earn four of a possible 10 points during their current 1-2-2 slide, the Jets are just 1-4-0 over their last five trips to the ice.
Winnipeg has lost two straight and fell 4-1 Thursday at Arizona in the opener of a three-game road trip. Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan each posted three- point nights in the win for the Coyotes, while Arizona goaltender Mike Smith stopped 34-of-35 shots.
Arizona went 3-for-5 on the power play and killed off all seven Winnipeg power plays.
Mathieu Perreault supplied Winnipeg's lone goal and Ondrej Pavelec gave up all four goals on 30 shots as the Jets fell to 11-5-4 as the guest this season.
"Too many penalties. They were just better than us on special teams," Perreault said. "They just kind of took the wind out of us."
Pavelec has only one win since Dec. 2, a victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 16. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.54 goals against average in five career games against the Kings. Fellow Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson took the loss in his only career appearance against L.A., giving up three goals on 13 shots in the setback on Oct. 12.
Quick is expected to start tonight for the Kings. He is 3-2-0 with a 3.15 GAA in six career games versus the Jets.