Kings Crown Jets 4-3 Featured

Written by  Published in Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-Alec Martinez scored once and added an assist as the Los Angeles Kings edged the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 Tuesday night.

The win was their third in a row.

The Jets had a three-game winning streak snapped and closed out a 10 game homestand with a 6-3-1 record.

“We’ve set a pretty high bar for ourselves at home. Would we have liked to go 7-2-1? Absolutely," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. "Coming into it, I think we thought we’d have an opportunity to win. Just didn’t go our way tonight. I think our group is setting the bar high. It was OK. It didn’t kill us. It didn’t necessarily vault us to a spot that we were hoping to get too. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Darcy Kuemper turned aside 30 shots for Los Angeles, who moved to 33-22-5.

“They (Jets) always come out flying here and we knew that. Our mindset was to work through it, defend well. I thought we did a good job in our own zone, and then after that we were able to establish our game and start getting on the forecheck and start dictating the way we wanted to play and we were able to take over the game," said Kuemper.

Dion Phaneuf, Torrey Mitchell and Dustin Brown added singles for the Kings.

Adrian Kempe had a pair of assists for Los Angeles.

The Kings went 2-5 with the man advantage on the night, their first two goals were scored on the power play.

Winnipeg went 2-5 on the power play.

Connor Hellebuyck made 28 stops for the Jets, who lost at home for only the 6th time this season (35-16-9).

Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Laine scored for Winnipeg.

Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist in the contest and extended his scoring streak to 7 games with three goals and eight assists.

“They picked up their speed a little bit, some untimely penalties, penalty kill is kinda leaking oil right now. Just kind of wrong penalties at the wrong time, they capitalized, stole some momentum. Still 2-2 going into the third at home, I don’t think we hate that spot. Just weren’t able to get one early enough to go in the third," said Wheeler afterward.

Wheeler opened the scoring 5:46 into the first period, converting a Dustin Byfuglien feed past Kings goaltender Darcy Kuemper, receiving a pass at the top of the faceoff circle before moving in and wiring a high wrister, beating the Los Angeles netminder high glove side.

The goal was his 17th of the season.

Alec Martinez tied the contest 1:49 into the second period on the power play.

With Kyle Connor off for tripping, Martinez floated a shot from the left point through traffic which beat a screened Connor Hellebuyck.

The goal was his 6th of the season.

With Nic Petan off for slashing Dion Phaneuf fired a power play goal as he converted an Alec Martinez feed past Hellebucyk, blowing a slapshot through the Hellebuyck's pads at 17:05 of the second period.

The goal was his 6th of the season and 3rd since being traded to the Kings from the Ottawa Senators on February 13th.

Dustin Byfuglien tied the contest at 18:55 hammering a slapshot that was redirected off of Antze Kopitar's stick and past Kuemper to make it 2-2.

The goal was his 4th of the season.

Torrey Mitchell put the Kings ahead at 6:18 of the third period, skating into a rebound from an Adrian Kempe shot before moving Hellebuyck to his left and beating the Winnipeg goaltender with a high shot to make it 3-2.

"Kempe (was) working in front and sort of popped it right back to me, wide open and had a little patience. It was good to score," said Mitchell. Dustin Brown scored at 15:54, converting a Tyler Toffoli feed from near the corner when the Toffoli found the former captain alone in front of the Winnipeg net. The goal was his 17th of the season.

Patrick Laine scored with 48.5 seconds left to pull Winnipeg to within a goal, hammering a slap shot past Kuemper, beating him glove side to make it 4-3. The goal was his 28th of the season and league leading 16th power play goal.

But that was as close as the Jets got on this night.

Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice felt his club didn't skate that well.

"I didn't find that to be a physical game at all. They were tired. The game turned on speed. The hits after two were 15-10. That's not a heavy game. We were slow. Slow with the puck. We've got to skate. We've got enough speed. We're touching the puck in our end of the ice – we've got to move faster. It's not just about skating, but move faster," he said.

Kings Head Coach John Stevens felt that his club turned a corner and was particularly impressed with his power play unit's performance, they went 2-for-5 on the night.

“Why are we calling them (Martinez and Phaneuf) the second unit?,” quipped Stevens about his club’s power play unit. “They were the first unit tonight. I thought they were terrific. They had a game plan they moved the puck quickly and they came up with a lot of loose pucks.”

“Dion’s been a good fit there. He wants to shoot the puck all the time. He’s always looking at the net. I think he’s got people going there because they know the puck’s gonna go there,” said Stevens.



NOTES-Kings forward Anze Kopitar got his 800th career point with his third period assist on Dustin Brown's goal.

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 05:37
Philip Paul-Martin

A well rounded journalist with experience in both print and broadcast mediums, Philip has written news stories with impact, broken national news while at the CBC, anchored radio news and hosted talk show radio. His coverage includes feature writing, game stories and more in-depth pieces during the off-season as well as writing about the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets. He calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.