By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have lost two straight and are losing valuable ground in the playoff race after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
How it happened: Not much to report on in the first. The action was back and forth for the whole period. The Jets looked much improved out of the gate this time around after being admittedly “tight” in their 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. The most notable moment of the first will be on highlight shows for the rest of the season and beyond. Dustin Byfuglien lined up Kings’ defenceman Jake Muzzin by the Jets’ bench. From there he proceeded to run train on Muzzin, forcing him up and over into the laps of three or four Jets’ players.
The Jets had a shot drought that lasted around 20 minutes split between the first and second frames but was erased on Olli Jokinen’s 15th of the season on a nice pass from Evander Kane who took quite a hit to make a play. The Kings weren’t to be deterred, however, and 42 seconds later found the equalized off the stick of captain Dustin Brown who earned his 12th of the season. The Kings weren’t finished either and three-and-a-half minutes later found themselves in the lead on a howitzer from Mike Richards after a horrendous giveaway from Toby Enstrom intended for Jokinen.
It isn’t clear whether or not the ice will need to be cleared in the Kings end of the ice. The Jets were badly outshot after 10 minutes of play and it didn’t stop there. The Kings dominated the rest of the period holding the Jets to to just three shots. Alec Martinez scored his sixth of the season on the power play after Wheeler was sentenced to the sin bin for high-sticking.
That was all she wrote.
Shots: 41-18 Kings
What it means: With Dallas ahead in their game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Jets potentially lose more ground in the race for a wild card spot. Phoenix plays in Montreal later tonight.
Jets player of the game: Ondrej Pavelec. The only reason they were in the game was because of the Jets No. 1. He stood tall making 38 saves and getting little help offensively.
Honourable mention goes to the Jets fourth line of Peluso, Tangradi and Slater who were particularly effective all night. They played solid shut down minutes and even had some good chances up ice in the Kings zone at a couple intervals in the game.
Jets stat of the game: The Jets went almost 20 minutes without a shot between the first and second periods and had just seven and six in the first and second periods, respectively.
What is next for the Jets: The Jets will play their third game in six nights on Saturday when they welcome the Ottawa Senators to town.