Updated: January 31, 2014, 11:35 PM ET

Just A Thought


Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: When the Los Angeles Kings fired blanks again in their 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, it marked the eighth time in the Kings' last nine games that they failed to come up with a win (1-7-1) and, even worse, the third time in the last five games that they were shut out. The Kings are 1-for-25 on the power play in their last seven games, and unless they can find an answer for their offensive woes, they are going to play themselves right out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Two years ago, Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi hit a home run by acquiring Jeff Carter from Columbus, and the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup. Does Lombardi have another such deal in store this season? The Kings host Chicago and resurgent Columbus before the Olympic break, and the clock is definitely ticking in Hollywood.

Craig Custance@CraigCustance: The Capitals' 6-5 overtime victory Sunday -- on an Alex Ovechkin goal -- was huge, and it meant they earned three points during a home-and-home against the Red Wings. And looking at the standings, it's not a stretch to suggest that only one of these teams will make the postseason. It puts Washington in better position heading into their final games before the break, but the point collection had better continue before the Olympics begin because Washington's March schedule is absolutely brutal. The Capitals will play the reigning Eastern Conference champion Bruins three times and the Penguins twice, and there's the California swing through Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose that has decimated Eastern Conference teams this year. So, yeah, the Caps might want to make sure the winning continues against the Islanders, Jets and Devils this week before Ovechkin takes off to try to win a gold medal on home soil.

Katie Strang@KatieStrangESPN: Things continue to look good in Winnipeg under Paul Maurice's stewardship, as Sunday's 2-1 over Montreal at the Bell Centre improved the Jets to 8-2-0 since Maurice took over for Claude Noel. One reason? They have been a lot stingier on defense. Over the last 10 games, the Jets have surrendered just 21 goals. Backup netminder Al Montoya was the MVP of Sunday's affair, making 30 saves against the Habs, who dropped back-to-back games this weekend. Carey Price was also strong in turning away 33 shots, though one ghastly gaffe proved costly and led to Michael Frolik's game winner. The Jets are now four points behind the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Picture This

Willie Mitchell AP Photo/Reed Saxon"You can't have this!" Wayne Simmonds was not about to give up the puck to Willie Mitchell.


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