The Los Angeles Kings’ worst-case scenario for Tuesday night came to fruition.
They lost at the lowly Edmonton Oilers, 4-2, remaining at 93 points on the season in ninth place in the West. They have 37 non-shootout wins, and two games remaining.
The Calgary Flames defeated the Arizona Coyotes in regulation for 95 points, moving two points and three non-shootout wins (the first tiebreaker) ahead of the Kings for third place in the Pacific.
The Minnesota Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation, clinching a playoff spot.
The Winnipeg Jets blanked the St. Louis Blues and now have 96 points, three more than the Kings.
It was a critical game for the Kings, who also dropped a 2-1 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. Jonathan Quick made 37 saves in that game.
He did not appear against the Oilers.
Martin Jones got the start, shocking much of the hockey world given the stakes. His last start was on Feb. 27, although he appeared in relief of Quick on March 1 and March 28.
Jones made 18 of 21 saves (.857) in the loss to the Oilers. Of Edmonton’s three non-empty-net goals, two of them were debatable.
So why did Coach Darryl Sutter start him? From LA Kings Insider:
“I think all of it. I mean, look at our schedule lately and what we still have left. Tonight’s three-in-four, the next one’s four-in-[six], and we play an afternoon game on Saturday, so you know what? You’ve got to use ‘em both. Jonesy played really well in Minnesota, and he had a strong game tonight. It certainly wasn’t an easy decision. It wasn’t a decision that was made yesterday. It was one we made a few days ago.”
Jones did shut out the Oilers twice last season, which is one consideration here.
Another possible consideration: The last time Quick played back-to-back with significant travel was Dec. 29 in Calgary, a 2-1 loss, and Dec. 30 in – wait for it – Edmonton, where he lost 3-2 in a shootout and allowed the Oilers to snap a nine-game losing streak.
Quick should be back in on Thursday night, when the Kings visit Calgary with their season on the line.
As for Jones … he didn’t play poorly, or at least not as poorly as the team played in front of him early in the game. It was a nice audition for a team that’s in the market for a goalie this summer – another theory as to why Jones got the call.
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY