Patrik Laine scored his 25th goal of the season, while Blake Wheeler found his 20th Tuesday evening in Winnipeg’s 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from Bell MTS Place. Connor Hellebuyck improved his record to 26-17-5 on the season, while Cal Petersen dropped to 8-11-2.
It was a game highlighted by swift offensive transition play from Winnipeg, and slow-moving defensive footwork by Los Angeles. The Jets scored three goals on two-on-ones throughout the game’s middle stages, while the Kings did battle back on multiple occasions, keeping the score close throughout parts of the contest.
The Kings found the first goal of the game just 35 seconds in, as veteran forward Dustin Brown batted a rebound into the top corner of the Jets net, past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The remainder of the period went by without incident. Winnipeg did outshoot its western neighbours by two in the frame, 11-9.
Following a number of chances through the early and mid-stages of the middle stanza, the Jets broke out late in the period, capitalizing on some slow defensive transition play by the Kings, scoring on two rushes up ice.
Jack Roslovic picked up assists on the first two Jets goals of the period, first collecting the secondary assist on a Patrik Laine/Jansen Harkins two-on-one. Roslovic started the play before Laine fed Harkins with a cross-ice pass, where the rookie collected his first ever goal at home. Roslovic then raced up ice and dropped a pass to Mason Appleton, who put a wrist shot past Cal Peterson for his fifth of the season.
Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele then connected just a minute after Appleton’s go-ahead strike, giving the Jets a 3-1 lead on another pretty two-on-one passing play. Scheifele found Wheeler cross-ice, who found twine with 1:27 to play, putting Winnipeg up by two goals through 40 minutes. The Jets did, however, lose their lead in the shot department ending the second period down 24-23.
Los Angeles did get back on the board just 1:21 into the third period, as Adrian Kempe fired a point shot intentionally wide, leading to a Martin Frk rebound goal. But Winnipeg responded almost immediately with another two-on-one strike. This time it was a Nikolaj Ehlers shot off of a Mark Scheifele passing play. For Ehlers, it was his 21st goal of the season, while Blake Wheeler picked up the secondary assist on the play.
Dustin Brown then redirected a long Matt Roy point shot past Hellebuyck, bringing the Kings to within one goal once again, before Patrik Laine sealed the deal with an empty-netter just a minute-and-a-half later. Wheeler then redirected a Neal Pionk point shot past Petersen, putting the cherry on the top of a 6-3 win.
The Jets now head out on the road for a four-game heater beginning in Ottawa Thursday evening, before the club moves through Eastern Conference teams Philadelphia, Buffalo and Washington on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, respectively. Puck drop in Thursday’s game against the Senators is set for 6:30 PM central. The game can be viewed live on TSN.