Things looking up for Kings ahead of Jets matchup

Things looking up for Kings ahead of Jets matchup

Los Angeles Kings coach Todd McLellan is beginning to like what he sees from his team.He’ll look for more reasons to be optimistic when the Kings host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.Los Angeles played its best game of the season on Tuesday in a 4-2 win against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, ending a 10-game losing streak against the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions.”This is a brand new slate for us,” McLellan said after the win. “I’d like to think we’re moving in the right direction.”The Kings were coming off a five-game road trip that began with one-goal wins against the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators, but ended with a 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday — a game in which the Kings blew a 2-0 lead to start the third period.”Even the game in Washington, other than the comeback, we’re starting to do some things characteristic of last year,” McLellan said. “We’ll still find our way and evolve as we go.”Winnipeg is also coming off its best all-around win of the season, a 4-0 victory against the visiting St. Louis Blues on Monday.Connor Hellebuyck, who stopped 25 shots against St. Louis for his 29th NHL shutout, said the Jets are moving in the right direction.”We know we have it in this room and we needed to show it for 60 minutes,” Hellebuyck said. “Now that we have, now we have something to build on.”Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness will not accompany the team on the three-game road trip because of lingering COVID-19 symptoms. He has missed five of the past six games.Bowness departed the morning skate on Monday because of dizziness and was not on the bench that night or at practice on Wednesday.Scott Arniel will continue handling head coaching duties in Bowness’ absence.

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