WINNIPEG – For the first time this season the Winnipeg Jets failed to score multiple goals in a game and it cost them two points in a hard fought 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The game was actually a lot closer than the score made it appear as the Kings scored twice into the empty net for their sixth consecutive victory.
Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter both had two assists for Los Angeles. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist while Jonathan Quick stopped 24 of 25 shots in the win.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored the Jets only goal. Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves while Tyler Myers was a game worst minus-4.
“That was a tight game.” Drew Stafford said. “There was not a lot going on. Chances were pretty low for the most part. We knew the goal that was gonna put it forward was going to be a greasy one.”
“It was a hard fought game obviously.” Adam Lowry said. “L.A. is pretty hot right now, but you know, I thought we played for the most part a pretty good game.”
The Jets generated plenty of offensive opportunities in the first 20 minutes but then the Kings suffocating style of defense took over giving the Jets no time or space as they struggled to get the puck through the neutral zone.
“You’re going to see more and more hockey like this.” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. “You have to make adjustments to your game and we struggled with that a little bit here tonight. I thought the second half of the second period there were four turnovers that we didn’t need to make.”
“A game like that, against a team like that who play very suffocating.” Stafford said. “Take away a lot of time and space. We knew that we needed to play a little bit more grimey, a little more greasy and we just didn’t get it done.”
It was a scoreless opening period as the Jets out shot the Kings 9-8. Winnipeg just missed a couple good opportunities late in the period while on the man advantage.
The Kings picked up their game after killing off a minor penalty to start the second period. But with 11:15 to go in the middle frame the Jets won the face off in the Kings zone and Ehlers’ shot from the blue line appeared to hit Trevor Lewis and deflected behind Quick. Ehlers fourth goal of the season was unassisted.
“I threw it on the net.” Ehlers said. “I saw some traffic in front of the net. And just tried to put it in there and it went in.”
But the Kings battled back to tie it up before the end of the period. Jake Muzzin ripped a loose puck past a screened Pavelec and it was 1-1. The shots were 11 aside in the second stanza.
The game remained tied until 4:41 left in the third period when Toffoli raced in and his centring pass ricocheted off the stick of Jets defenseman Tyler Myers and in behind Pavelec. Milan Lucic who was crashing the net was credited with his second goal of the season.
“I was getting the back check going and it just happened to go off my stick.” Myers said. “An unfortunate bounce, but you know that’s the way it went.”
“They owned the third.” Maurice said.
After the Kings took their first lead they scored twice into the empty net to lock up a 4-1 victory.
“I think they were better at what they’re good at and got better in the game at what they’re good at.” Maurice said. “They weren’t making plays off the rush. They got all their pucks in deep and got into the forecheck and we were spending energy at that point trying to break pucks out.”
The Jets made one roster change on Tuesday as rookie Nic Petan rode the pine, replaced in the lineup by Anthony Peluso. Paul Postma and Adam Pardy were also scratched. Jets captain Andrew Ladd played in his 700th career NHL game.
The Jets close out their six game home stand with a divisional showdown against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.