WINNIPEG, MB - The final game of the Winnipeg Jets 10-game homestand came down with a thud. Despite leading 1-0 after the first period and outshooting the visiting Los Angeles Kings 33-32 on the night, the Jets fell 4-3 to the Kings to close out the 10-game homestand with a record of 6-3-1.
On Tuesday night in front of another loud, sold out crowd at Bell MTS Place, the Jets looked good after two periods. Blake Wheeler scored his 17th of the year on the power play to give the Jets a 1-0 lead after the first period, but L.A. scored two power play goals to take a 2-1 lead after 17 minutes of the second.
Still, Dustin Byfuglien scored the game’s first even strength goal at 18:55 of the second to send the game to the final period deadlocked at 2-2. At that point, it was still anybody’s game.
But L.A. took over the hockey game for much of the third period and as a result, took a 4-2 lead on goals by Torrey Mitchell and Dustin Brown. Patrik Laine made it 4-3 with a vicious shot just under the bar with 49 seconds remaining, but the Jets couldn’t muster an attack in the dying seconds and were beaten for the first time in four games.
With the loss, the Jets dropped to 35-16-9 on the season, second in the Central Division, two points back of first place Nashville. The Predators also have a game in hand. Winnipeg also fell to 23-6-2 at home this season.
The Jets outshot L.A. 33-32, but Darcy Kuemper of the Kings outdueled Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets. It was an odd game in the sense that Winnipeg dominated the first period (the shots were 16-5) and then L.A. dominated the second (16-5 the other way). Winnipeg outshot L.A. 12-11 in the third. The teams had an even split in the faceoff circle. Both teams won 30 faceoffs. Byfuglien led all Jets in icetime, drawing 25 minutes and 20 seconds. He was the game’s second star. Bryan Little, Jack Roslovic and Mathieu Perreault were the only plus players for the Jets. All three were plus one.
The Jets were one-for-four on the power play while L.A. was two-for-five.
The Jets will now head back out onto the road. They’ll play Friday night in St. Louis and then Saturday night in Dallas in two big intra-divisional battles. Friday night’s game starts at 7 p.m. on TSN 3 while Saturday’s game goes at 6 p.m. on Hockey Night in Canada.
Scott Taylor, Manitoba Post
Photos by James Carey Lauder