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Kings can't keep up with Jets, fall 5-2 in Winnipeg

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Jonathan Quick
was chased after two periods Sunday afternoon in the Kings’ 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre, dropping their third consecutive game.

The Kings, playing their fourth game in less than six days, looked rather lethargic against an up-and-coming physical, hard-working, and skilled Winnipeg roster; the Jets made it clear Sunday why they’re legitimately vying for a Western Conference playoff spot.

“[The Jets] got on their forecheck and worked hard,” Toffoli said of the loss to Winnipeg. “We weren’t being crisp, we weren’t breaking out as good as we wanted to, and it cost us.”

The Jets got on the board just over six minutes into the contest, just after the Kings were finally able to register their first shot on goal.

Jeff Carter tied the game for the Kings midway through the second period, beating Michael Hutchinson with a wrist-shot low to the far side as he streaked in from atop the right circle.

Winnipeg responded to Carter’s equalizer with three goals in the second period, two of which came 42 seconds apart. The Jets carried a 4-1 lead into the third period; Jonathan Quick was pulled after surrendering four goals on 21 shots, in favor of Martin Jones, who stopped all seven shots he saw in the third period.

Jeff Carter buried his second goal of the day with five minutes remaining in regulation, bringing the Kings to within two when he chipped a backhand shot past Hutchinson amidst a scrum in front of the Winnipeg net.

“Yeah, they’re a good team,” Carter said of the Jets’ roster. “They’re where they are for a reason. Big, fast, physical and they play really well at home. It seems like every time we play them, it’s a tough game. You know you’re into one and you know you’re going to get hit and you have to work for everything you get against them.”

Blake Wheeler sealed the Kings’ fate with an empty-net goal with 56 seconds to play.

The Kings have now lost three straight games, and have dropped out of playoff positioning in the Western Conference. Sitting on 70 points, the Kings are three points behind the Pacific Division’s second-seed Vancouver Canucks, and three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second and final wild-card spot. With 20 games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Kings have plenty of work to do to earn a postseason spot.

“Just the guys in the room, we’ve got to find a way,” Toffoli said in regards to the Kings rebounding from another loss. “We’ve got to dig deep, we’re not solidified in the playoffs right now. We’ve got to bear down, we’ve got to win some more games; we’ve got to play a lot better.”

They’ll have an opportunity to stop the bleeding Tuesday night in Edmonton before they return home to Los Angeles on Thursday.

Jeff Carter (2G) and Tyler Toffoli (2A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Drew Doughty in shots taken (4), Andrej Sekera in hits delivered (5), Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:53). Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in the loss; Martin Jones stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period.

With the loss, the Kings’ record dips to 29-21-12; their mark on the road away from STAPLES Center drops to 9-14-6. The Kings have now lost three consecutive games; they’ll wrap-up their three-game road trip Tuesday night when they pay a visit to Rexall Place to take on the Edmonton Oilers. The puck is slated to drop just after 6:30PM PT.

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