The Winnipeg Jets have proven themselves contenders in this year’s race to the Stanley Cup and are proving to be tough when it comes to close games.
The Winnipeg Jets are at the top of the NHL this month for top scoring teams and won their third game in a row that was decided by one goal after defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night 3-2. It also puts them three points above the Nashville Predators in the Central Division with under three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Kyle Connor scored one goal and had an assist. Kevin Hayes and Tyler Myers also scored for Winnipeg with assists going to Nikolaj Ehlers, Jacob Trouba and Blake Wheeler. Goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped 15 shots and earned his 13th win of the season. Tyler Myers, who scored the winning goal, felt the win was an important one. Commenting, Myers said,
“It’s an important win. I feel like this time of the year games start tightening up and scores get lower. You can tell it is starting to get into that playoff-hockey mode. It’s a good type style of play we want to get used to in April and the post-season.”
After going up 2-0 over the Kings, Winnipeg seemed to lose its edge allowing the Los Angeles Kings to come back and tie the game midway through the second. After a scramble in front of the Kings net late in the second, Tyler Myers took control of the puck and went on a two on one rush with Nikolaj Ehlers to beat goaltender Jack Campbell with a wrist shot to the top right corner of the net to put the Jets up 3-2. Kevin Hayes, who scored one last night, when asked post-game what comes to mind when thinking about the Jets and what is needed to earn points, commented that,
“When you think about the Jets it is usually high scoring, but the past couple games we have been playing good defence in the third and squeezing out wins. That is what it takes this time of the year when you need points.”
Dustin Brown and Sean Walker scored for Los Angeles, and Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Brendan Leipsic earned assists. Los Angeles have lost six of their last seven games and fifteen of the last eighteen and sit at the bottom of the Western Conference. They also have the distinction to be the team with the least number of points in the league. Anze Kopitar, captain of the Los Angeles Kings, commented that it is definitely a sour taste and thoughts. Kopitar added,
“The whole year has been disappointing and now we are eliminated officially. No one guy in this room should be OK with what has been going on this year.”
The Jets managed to take the lead scoring two goals in just over a minute of each other in the first period before the Kings managed to get on board at 14:55 and tired it in the second. However, after Winnipeg scored their third, Los Angeles seemed unable to muster up the needed motivation to stay relevant in the third period.
The back and forth wasn’t lost on the head coach of the Jets, Paul Maurice, whose track record is worth noting for punters planning for the upcoming post-season. His record, and that of the Jets this season will be deciding factors in the odds set by leading sportsbooks like Bodog, a favoured Canadian brand offering new punters up to $200 in bonuses. Commenting on the night, Maurice said,
“It was a real good grinder. I didn’t feel the game ebbed and flowed. We got better as the game went along.”
The Winnipeg Jets will next play the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday before heading to Las Vegas to face the Golden Knights. The Los Angeles Kings will play San Jose on Thursday night before welcoming the Ducks on Saturday.