Jets edge Kings 2-1 in season opener

Thursday, 11 October 2018 01:35 Written by  Published in Game Stories
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-Kyle Connor scored the game winner just over halfway through the third period on a power play as the Winnipeg Jets won their home opener, edging the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 Tuesday night.

Connor, who has goals in each of Winnipeg's first three games this season, managed to poke a puck past Kings goaltender Jack Campbell who had the misfortune of having the disc go through his legs after LA defenceman Alec Martinez redirected it through his legs.

The disc appeared to be destined to crossing the goal line which would have had Wheeler scoring the game winner but the second-year winger helped the puck over the goal line to record the game winning tally.

"Yeah for sure it's (puck) there. It's kind of a reactionary play," said Connor afterward.

But Wheeler didn't care who got the goal in the end.

"I hope he gets 40 of those, honestly. If he's not standing there, I don't make that play and the puck doesn't go in the net. Yeah, it may look like he taps it in, but to me that's his goal all the way," said Wheeler.

Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets, who won their home opener and second game of the season.

Connor Hellebuyck made 16 stops to pick up the win for Winnipeg.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Kings.

Jack Campbell stopped 37 shots for Los Angeles.

Kovalchuk opened the scoring 6:26 into the contest to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

Doughty dropped the puck for teammate Alex Iafallo at his own blueline before taking a return pass and breaking across the Winnipeg blue line before hitting Kovalchuk with a crisp pass which the newly acquired winger redirected past Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

The goal was his first of the season and first as a Los Angeles King following a five-year hiatus from the National Hockey League spent in the KHL.

But Kovalchuk wasn't buying into the hype. "I prefer to win than score goals. It wasn’t enough, so we will be better next game," he said. "We got to play the way we played third period the full 60 minutes. And our power play, as soon as we can click on the power play, we will be much better team, for sure."

Mark Scheifele got the Jets on the board at 10:59, converting a Brandon Tanev pass from the left corner, beating Los Angeles goaltender Jack Campbell glove side to make it 1-1.

The Jets pulled ahead with a power play goal 10:21 into the second.

With Jake Muzzin off for tripping Kyle Connor poked a puck past Campbell after Blake Wheeler's shot from the right side boards was deflected by Kings defenceman Alec Martinez through Campbell's pads.

Connor tapped the puck past the line to give the Jets the lead.

The tally was his third in the last three games.

"I thought we got off to a good start, but then probably the middle of the first (period) and all of the second we totally played on our heels," said LA Head Coach John Stevens. "He (Campbell) comes in tough spots and the team doesn't play well in front of you, but he still gives you a chance to get a point at the end of the day so it's terrific. But you can't play the game on your heels. You just sit back and let a team come at you, they're (Jets) going to make you play in your end a lot."

Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice said defensively his club was there.

"We dug fifteen pucks in the first period. That's a real high number. We didn't give them a chance to do anything else but dump it in and we got fourteen of the fifteen (pucks) back and had a good breakout."

"Our gap was right which means the puck shouldn't be able to get through you in the middle and has to be kept to the outside," he added. SHOTS-LOS ANGELES 17 WINNIPEG 39


Last modified on Thursday, 11 October 2018 01:39
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.