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'That 70s Line' leads Kings past Jets

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The chemistry of the line of Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson, nicknamed "That 70s Line," blossomed last season for the Los Angeles Kings. The summer did nothing to slow them down.

Toffoli, Carter and Pearson each had a goal and an assist to lead the Kings to a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on Sunday.

The Kings got their first win of the season on longtime announcer Bob Miller's 76th birthday and made up for their Stanley Cup-banner raising loss to the San Jose Sharks last Wednesday.

Pearson and Carter put the game away with two goals in the second period. The line has accounted for five of the Kings' six goals this season, and Toffoli credited the veteran Carter for the continued success.

"I think Jeff helps us out a lot," Toffoli said. "He's really vocal. When we're struggling, he's getting on us, making sure we get better as each shift goes along. He wants to do well and so do we.

"I think the chemistry comes with hard work. Jeff is very easy to play with. He's one of the best players in the League. Tanner and myself read off of him and we've got to skate hard and keep up with him and make plays and score goals."

Martin Jones made 29 saves and looked sharp in his first start this season. He was tested early with saves against Michael Frolik and Adam Lowry, and he made a point-blank save on Andrew Ladd in the third.

Coach Darryl Sutter was content with the Kings' most complete performance so far this season. It was Sutter who masterfully put "That 70s Line" together because of how Carter could lead Toffoli and Pearson, who are 22 years old.

"They know he's got that speed in the middle that allows those guys to get open, because he draws a lot of coverage there," Sutter said of Carter.

The Kings had one shot on goal in the first 12 minutes of the second period and scored on it for a 3-0 lead. Pearson's wrist shot skidded over the goal line at 2:03 after Toffoli bumped Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba off the puck near the Kings' bench.

That chased rookie goalie Michael Hutchinson for Ondrej Pavelec. Hutchinson, a former Kings farmhand in his fourth NHL game, allowed three goals on 13 shots, though he didn't receive much help.

"I liked some of his saves, but you get into a game and you don't know him as well as a coach and the reaction [of the team]," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "I want to make sure that if we were going to get one or two to go for us … I felt we were generating enough in the game to come back in the game … certainly, L.A. is not an easy team to do that [against], but I wanted to give us a chance to do it."

Drew Doughty assisted on the Kings' first two goals. The rebound of his point shot went to Marian Gaborik, who fed a tight pass to Anze Kopitar for a 2-0 lead at 10:58 of the first period. Doughty also fed Carter for a shot and passed the puck to Toffoli for a put-back goal at 6:18 of the first.

Carter finished Toffoli's rebound to make it 4-0 at 16:42 of the second when the Kings caught Winnipeg on a line change.

Bryan Little scored for Winnipeg at 17:47 of the second. The Jets have been outscored 7-1 the past two games and, for the second straight game, had a key player take a game misconduct penalty when Blake Wheeler instigated a fight with Robyn Regehr after a hit on Jets center Mark Scheifele.

"I think it's an early lesson for us," Little said of the two-game trip against the Sharks and Kings following a 6-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes in the season opener.

"I think that first game … I don't know if we maybe thought all our games were going to come that easy and the offense was going to come that easy. We found out pretty quickly when we went to San Jose that wasn't the case and we were humbled pretty quickly. It's only three games, but I think we learned."

Doughty passed Marty McSorley for fifth on the Kings' all-time list among defensemen with his 164th assist.

Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart played in his 500th game.

Los Angeles improved to 7-0-2 all-time in regulation at Staples Center against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise.

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