The Los Angeles Kings started slowly last season before running off a long winning streak, but failed to produce enough victories down the stretch and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.
They certainly hope that situation doesn’t repeat itself after getting off to a very similar start this season.
Los Angeles looks to win a sixth straight by avoiding a third consecutive loss to the host Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
The Kings dropped their first two of 2014-15 before recovering to win their next six, but the defending Stanley Cup champions finished fourth in the Pacific Division – two points out of a postseason spot.
Los Angeles was outscored 12-2 during its 0-3-0 start to this season before winning its last five, with Jonathan Quick stopping 113 of 117 shots while starting four times during that run.
His controversial save in the final seconds that held up after a review gave the Kings a 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Sunday. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar scored before Tanner Pearson’s power-play goal with 3:26 remaining.
Los Angeles has gone 4 for 8 with the man advantage over its last three after a 1-for-21 start. The Kings also have killed 10 of 11 penalties in the past three.
"We’re just playing our game," Kopitar said. "Our PK and special teams in general have picked up the pace. We’re sticking to our system which we pride ourselves for and have to continue doing that."
Pearson broke his left leg in a 5-4 shootout loss at Winnipeg on Jan. 10 and missed the rest of the season, with the Kings dropping seven of nine immediately following his injury.
He thrived on the "That 70s Line" with Carter and Tyler Toffoli – he had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over the Jets in last season’s first meeting – before getting hurt, and now is adjusting to different linemates in Kopitar and Dustin Brown.
Sunday’s goal was Pearson’s first of the season.
"It’s kind of a new thing," Pearson said. "We’ve talked a lot and I think both are pretty simple guys, get the puck in and create chances."
Winnipeg ranks among the league leaders with 28 goals. The Jets (5-2-1) allowed one 10 seconds into Sunday’s game against Minnesota, then netted five unanswered before holding on for a 5-4 win to snap a two-game skid.
Drew Stafford scored twice in the first 4:34 of the second period to give him four goals over his last three.
"He was outstanding. He’s found what will make a player very valuable," coach Paul Maurice said. "For him to take on a pretty big shutdown role and play like this … He hasn’t cheated for any of that to happen to him."
Blake Wheeler also has been productive with a team-high 11 points after recording two of his seven assists Sunday. His eight-game point streak is the longest in franchise history to begin the season.
Wheeler had a goal and an assist in the last two meetings with the Kings in 2014-15, and Andrew Ladd scored twice in a 5-2 victory in the most recent March 1.
Ondrej Pavelec could be back in net despite allowing four goals in each of his last two starts before Michael Hutchinson got the nod against the Wild.
Quick has gone 1-2-0 with a 3.72 goals-against average in three career starts in Winnipeg.