With a new face in the mix, the Kings looked as comfortable as ever.
Tonight’s 3-1 win against the Jets at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre saw a performance from the Kings that may have just been about as perfect and seamless as you can expect.
The Kings captured their first-ever victory against the Winnipeg Jets tonight. It’s the first time the Kings have been able to beat this franchise since they relocated from Atlanta, Georgia prior to the 2011-2012 season.
Tonight’s first win against the Jets showcased outstanding passing, persistent puck control, quick feet, and balanced scoring as three different Kings players recorded a goal, while five players recorded at least one point.
The tempo was fast-paced from start to finish as the Kings were looking to extend their win streak, the Jets looking to cling to their playoff hopes.
What was a scoreless first period wasn’t one without entertainment. The Kings looked revived in Marian Gaborik’s debut, and came out of the gates in synch, showing excellent team flow and chemistry in the first period, firing 11 shots on Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec.
Winnipeg, though, would find the net first. On botched defensive coverage, Winnipeg’s Olli Jokinen was able to coast freely to the front of Jonathan Quick’s net, receiving and burying a pass from Evander Kane to give the Jets a 1-0 lead with 7:57 left to play in the second period.
The Kings answered immediately.
On the next shift, Slava Voynov hit Jarret Stoll with a lengthy pass, and Stoll drove the puck wide, punched a backhand pass to Dustin Brown, who was driving hard to the net, and Brown snuck the puck past Pavelec to tie the game just :42 seconds after Jokinen gave Winnipeg the lead.
It was Brown’s 12th goal of the season. The Kings’ Captain now has five points (2G, 3A) in the Kings’ five games back from the Olympic break.
Three and a half minutes later, Mike Richards intercepted a cross-ice pass intended for a Jets forward, entered Winnipeg’s zone, and rifled and absolute blistering shot through a Jets defenseman, to the top-shelf past Ondrej Pavelec.
Richards’ 9th goal of the season gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with 3:45 to play in the second frame. It was Richards’ second goal in the past three games.
Alec Martinez padded the Kings’ lead on their fourth power play of the night with his sixth goal of the season, giving the Kings a 3-1 lead with just 4:09 remaining in regulation time.
Martinez’s sixth goal of the season ties his career high. He registered six goals during the 2011-2012 campaign.
Martinez’s goal also provided some due results for a Kings power play that looked much better tonight. Improved shot selection, puck movement and passing was seen throughout the evening from the Kings’ man-advantage units. The Kings registered 13 shots on the power play tonight.
The Kings blew away the Jets in the shot department tonight, outshooting Winnipeg 41-18.
They were disciplined, too. The Kings took only one penalty tonight.
Jonathan Quick, with 17 saves on 18 shots, no has recorded at least one win against every current NHL team.
Marian Gaborik recorded three shots in 16:38 minutes of ice time tonight in his Kings debut. Gaborik also saw plenty of time on the power play, spending 4:36 on the ice with the Kings’ man-advantage units.
Now with six consecutive wins, the Kings record stands at 36-22-6, which is good for 78 points. The Kings sit at sixth-place in the Western Conference, and are 11 points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for the Pacific Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
The Kings now head to Alberta for a pair of games. Their first stop will be in Edmonton Sunday night for a date with the Oilers at Rexall Place at 5:00PM PT.
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