Los Angeles Kings 4, Winnipeg Jets 2 - (Jets 33-33-9, Road 16-18-3) - The question going into the game was would the Jets be able to build off the win in San Jose, or would the Kings build off their five game winning streak.
It was game three of a five game road trip for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec was back in goal after being injured in the opening period of the March 14 game against the New York Rangers. Jets were again minus Zach Bogosian because of injury, while Devin Setoguchi was again a healthy scratch. Mark Stuart, banged up late in the San Jose win, was back in the lineup.
The Kings jumped on Pavelec early with Trevor Lewis squeezing one through the goalie at 2:42 to open the scoring. At 7:53, Anze Kopitar had one go in off his shin pads and after video review the goal stood and the Kings had a 2-0 lead.
Kopitar would score his second of the game and 24th of the year at 17:37 as the Kings took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room. Shots at one time in the period were 12-4, and ended 16-11. Eric O'Dell and Matt Halischuk each had great chances on the same shift midway through the period, but neither could beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Al Montoya, who had started the last six games, started the second period, in what turned out to be a tighter checking frame. Jets did not give the Kings much room, but the Kings at the same time did not give the Jets much either. It was into the second half of the period before the Jets got their first shot on goal. Shots in the second period were 7-4 Los Angeles.
By far the Jets best period was the third. Matt Halischuk with his fourth of the year got the Jets on the board 1:54 into the third, with Eric O'Dell and Evander Kane picking up assists. Kane is 4-5-9 in six career games vs. Los Angeles.
With the Jets pressing for another and controlling the play, Kings Tyler Toffoli snapped one home at 4:59 to regain the three goal lead. Blake Wheeler with his team leading 26th got the Jets back to within two. Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien drew assists on the power play goal. Wheeler now has seven power play goals on the year. It was his 63rd point, one shy of his single season career high. The assist for Byfuglien was his 54th point of the year, a new single season high for points in a season.
The Jets outshot the Kings 11-6 in the third but some big saves by Quick made the final 4-2.
Jacob Trouba at 25:58 led the Jets in ice time, Byfuglien and Adam Pardy each had four shots on goal. Jets lost Keaton Ellerby to injury, with his status for Monday uncertain. Little took 17 face-offs and surpassed the 1500 mark in face-offs this season, a personal high for him.
For Coach Paul Maurice, the slow start by his team was the difference. "We were taught a real good lesson in the first. We gave up way too much ice. Then we played as hard as we could for two periods. But needed to be smoother in the first. The other lesson was to be able to wind yourself up again after Thursday's win. I'm not putting this one of our goalies. They were as good as the rest of our group."
On Pavelec coming out of the game, Coach Maurice felt with giving up 16 shots in the first, and if the game continued that way, that was giving up too many shots for a goalie just getting back into the lineup after injury. "When the puck dropped, they were better than us."
The road trip for the Jets continues Monday in Anaheim (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), and wraps up Tuesday in Phoenix (TSN Jets, TSN 1290)