LOS ANGELES - The Kings fell short of securing the franchise’s second division title Saturday night in their 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets at STAPLES Center.
With one point earned, the Kings will have to await the result of Sunday afternoon’s tilt between the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals to learn their final position in the standings, as well as their first-round opponent.
The loss was a rather disappointing one for the mere fact the Kings built a three-goal lead early in the second period, only to see it relinquished when the Jets responded to knot the score with two late goals in the second period, and the game-tying tally early in the third.
“We had the start that we wanted and then we just, for whatever reason, we stopped playing,” said Anze Kopitar. “Obviously we made a bunch of turnovers that resulted in their goals. The start was good, but the second and third period were not very good.”
The Jets came into the game hot, having earned points in four-straight, coming off wins against both Anaheim and San Jose. They did not let up Saturday night.
“We’ve got to play a full 60,” Jake Muzzin stressed. “I mean we were good for the first half, and then I don’t know what happened, but we kind of just, I don’t know if we thought the game was over. It’s tough to win in this league, and it was proven there.”
Tyler Toffoli got the Kings on the board 9:18 minutes into the night, scoring his team-leading 31st goal of the season, when he shoveled home a well-placed pass from Jeff Carter as he sat open on Ondrej Pavelec’s back door.
With his assist on Toffoli’s goal, Jeff Carter tied his career-high in assists with 38; he hit that mark during the 2008-’09 season in Philadelphia.
Just over four minutes later, Tanner Pearson gave the Kings a 2-0 lead when he received a pass from Milan Lucic in the neutral zone and fled in alone on Pavelec, beating the Winnipeg netminder with a shot through the five-hole.
Andy Andreoff gave the Kings a 3-0 lead six minutes into the second when he walked out from behind Winnipeg’s net and fired a wrap-around shot that caromed off of a Jets’ defenseman’s skate and into the net.
Winnipeg got on the board late in the second with a pair of quick goals from Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers 2:13 minutes apart. Blake Wheeler tied the game 3-3 three minutes into the third.
The game extended to be the Kings’ 20th overtime contest of the season.
The Kings only registered one shot on the Jets in the extra frame, a golden opportunity for Anze Kopitar that was turned away by Pavelec. Jonathan Quick robbed Winnipeg’s Ben Chiarot on a point-blank opportunity with less than a second left in overtime to send the game to a shootout.
Mark Scheifele scored in the second round for the Jets in the shootout, the Kings were turned away on all three attempts.
The Kings fell to 2-3 on the season in shootouts, and 14-6 in games that extend past regulation.
The Kings finished their season series against Winnipeg with a 1-2-0 record.
Seven different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Dustin Brown in shots taken (4), Luke Schenn in hits delivered (6), Rob Scuderi and Luke Schenn in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:54). Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in the shootout loss.
The Kings ended their 2015-’16 regular season with a 48-26-6 record, earning 102 points in the standings. They’ll begin the Western Conference Quarterfinals on home ice at STAPLES Center, which is expected to start Thursday night against either the Nashville Predators or San Jose Sharks.