Los Angeles Kings 3, Winnipeg Jets 1 (Jets 30-27-7, home 15-12-5) - The win makes it six straight for the Kings since the Olympic break, a team that won once in 10 games before the break. The loss drops the Jets to three points back of Dallas for the final spot in the Western Conference.
No scoring in the first period but it was a good start for the Jets, who jumped out to a 6-2 lead on the shots clock, but helped by a power play the Kings started to take the game over and outshot the Jets 11-7.
Through part of the first and into the second the Jets went 17:52 without a shot on goal, but Olli Jokinen's 15th of the year put the Jets in front 1-0. Good hustle by Evander Kane set up the goal, with Mark Stuart also drawing an assist. It was the third straight game the Jets have scored first, Jokinen opening the scoring in Nashville, Andrew Ladd opening the scoring against the Islanders. But the lead only lasted 42 seconds before Dustin Brown, in tight on Ondrej Pavelec, tied the game. Mike Richards picked off a cross ice pass and wired one past Pavelec at 16:15 to give the Kings the lead. Kings are 18-0 this season when leading after two. Shots in the second were 10-6, Los Angeles.
In the third, the Kings showed why they need to be considered one of the power houses in the Western Conference. Kings outshot the Jets 20-5 in the third, and if not for Pavelec, the Kings would have skated their way to a route. Pavelec made one outstanding save after another and not until a power play goal by Alec Martinez at 15:51 was the game put away. Final shots were 41-18. It was the first time in five games this year Pavelec has lost when facing 40 or more shots. Pavelec was the game's first star. In total the Kings directed 78 shots at the Jets net, with 23 blocked and 14 missing the net. Kings are now 19-0 when leading after two.
Kane led the Jets with seven shots on goal, Zach Bogosian in ice time at 24:19, Mark Stuart blocked seven shots, Jim Slater won eight of nine face-offs and has now won 15 of 16 over the past two games, Bryan Little won 10 of 16. Dustin Byfuglien led in hits with five, including a first period hit on Jake Muzzin that put the Kings defenceman into the Jets bench.
Coach Paul Maurice had this to say post game.
"I liked the speed of the game that we started the game with. Then we ran into the LA Kings at their best. They will take your game and frustrate you to the point that you would start to change what you're trying to do, because there's nothing given easily. We started to do things without your feet moving and you can't do that against them. I was left with the thought there are two kinds of confidence in hockey, and its individual confidence in a player that comes and goes at times. Second a style of play to handle these games. We needed to hold the lead longer than we did. It's dangerous to evaluate your offensive game against that team."
On the loss, "The fact you are chasing hurts more when you lose."
Jets play Ottawa Saturday afternoon (TSN 1290) at MTS Centre, then head to Colorado for a game Monday. It's a single trip before they return home for three - against Vancouver, the Rangers and Dallas.