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game recap

Wheeler, Jets defeat Kings

Winnipeg forward ties career-high with 47 assists; Los Angeles loses third straight

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

WINNIPEG - The Los Angeles Kings lost their third consecutive game as the Winnipeg Jets defeated them 4-1 at MTS Centre on Thursday.

The three-game losing streak tied a season-high for the Kings (44-25-5), who are 8-5-4 when tied after the second period this season. The loss reduced the Kings' lead in the Pacific Division to three points as the Anaheim Ducks earned a point in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday.

"We're not happy in here, and we need to fix things really quickly," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "You can't be losing three games in a row at any time in the season. It's really frustrating that we did this, and we need to fix things, and we need to get winning hockey games because right now we're blowing our spot at the top of the division and near the top of the [Western Conference]."

Anze Kopitar scored and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves for the Kings.

Video: LAK@WPG: Byfuglien slaps one in from the point

Adam Lowry, Dustin Byfuglien, Paul Postma and Drew Stafford scored, and Ondrej Pavelec made 33 saves for the Jets (31-37-6), who have won six of their past 20 home games (6-13-2). Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had two assists; Wheeler's 47th assist of the season tied his career-high he set back in 2011-12.

Tied 1-1 and outshooting Winnipeg 29-14 after two periods, Los Angeles allowed two goals in the first 2:54 of the third.

"If we could have scored the second goal, it's probably a different deal," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "That's the way it goes."

Winnipeg took its first lead of the game when Byfuglien beat Quick with a right-point slap shot at 15 seconds. Byfuglien's goal, his 17th of the season, ended a 10-game goalless streak.

Video: LAK@WPG: Kopitar's PPG nets his 25th goal of season

Postma followed with his second goal of the season, a long slap shot from the right point through traffic that slipped past Quick.

Winnipeg remains in last place in the Central Division with 68 points.

"It just shows that we care," Byfuglien said. "We want to win. We're not quitting."

Winnipeg has earned at least a point in three consecutive games for the first time this season (2-0-1).

Los Angeles controlled the first period, testing Pavelec on several close chances and outshooting Winnipeg 14-4.

Video: LAK@WPG: Pavelec denies Toffoli on the doorstep

A high-sticking double minor to Kings captain Dustin Brown early in the second failed to spark the Jets, who managed one shot during the man-advantage.

"We had a really good goaltender," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "We were at least able to get better because we were not very good for the first two periods of that hockey game. The positive out of the game is that the fans got to see a win."

Kopitar later made it 1-0, cruising down the left boards on the power play before his off-wing snap shot beat Pavelec from the circle at 9:25 of the second. Kopitar's 25th goal of the season gave him five goals and 10 points in the past eight games.

Lowry tied the game 1-1 with 1:40 left in the period. Matt Halischuk won the puck behind the Los Angeles net and sent a pass to the slot that Lowry placed under the crossbar for his seventh goal of the season. Lowry has goals in back-to-back games and three goals in the past seven games after a span of 17 games without a goal.

Video: LAK@WPK: Lowry bangs home chance on the doorstep

Drew Stafford scored his 20th of the season, an empty-net goal with 1:58 remaining.

"They were dominant for the first two periods," Pavelec said. "We found a way to win in the third. It's a great win for us."

The Kings return home to play the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, and forward Jeff Carter says there is a lot of work to do.

"Definitely not what we expected coming into this trip," Carter said. "These are games that we could have separated ourselves a little bit. We've got to get going here. We're running out of games. You can't get to the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and flip a switch. We've got a lot of work to do here in the next couple of weeks."

"It starts from the top and trickles down, and we've got to get pulling."

Video: Jets score four unanswered goals in win over Kings

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