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game recap

Kings win, keep pace in Western wild-card race

Use special teams, big third period to defeat Jets

by Forrest Lee / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Marian Gaborik scored the first of three straight goals for the Los Angeles Kings in the third period of a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on Thursday.

Anze Kopitar, Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist, Tanner Pearson scored a shorthanded goal, and Ben Bishop made 19 saves for his first win with Los Angeles (35-31-7), which is eight points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with nine games remaining. Nashville defeated the Calgary Flames 3-1.


WATCH: All Jets vs. Kings highlights


"Especially the second and third periods, I felt we were holding on to the puck a lot better, making the plays, and just playing hockey, just reacting on the ice instead of thinking too much and kind of being hesitant," said Kopitar, who had his second multipoint game in the past five. "Obviously, we've got to do more of the same in the next coming weeks."

Tyler Toffoli had two assists for the Kings, whose win prevented the Minnesota Wild from clinching a playoff berth.

Mathieu Perreault and Patrik Laine scored, and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets (33-34-7), who had their three-game winning streak end. Winnipeg trails Nashville by 12 points with eight games remaining.

Video: WPG@LAK: Muzzin scores with long-range knuckler

Los Angeles was 3-for-4 on the power play. All three third-period goals came on special teams.

"We have to find someone to get in front of the shooting lane," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "It was 2-2 going into the third. We have battled fairly hard on the road, then we got into the penalty box, and that was the end of it."

Gaborik scored his 10th goal on the power play at 2:01 to give the Kings a 3-2 lead.

Doughty made it 4-2 with his ninth goal on the power play at 3:57, and Pearson scored his 23rd goal at 9:22 to put Los Angeles up 5-2.

Perreault tipped defenseman Brian Strait's shot from the left point past Bishop at 6:54 of the first period to give the Jets a 1-0 lead. It was Perreault's 10th goal, second in as many games.

Video: WPG@LAK: Gaborik pots scorching wrister for PPG

After Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler was called for high sticking, Kopitar scored a power-play goal with 5:37 remaining in the first to tie it 1-1.

Laine scored to give the Jets a 2-1 lead with 2:19 left in the period on a 5-on-3 power play after penalties on Bishop for slashing and Doughty for delay of game, the latter occurring with 3:02 left in the first.

Laine's 34 goals lead NHL rookies, are tied with Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues for fourth in the League, and are seven behind NHL leader Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Muzzin scored with 3:54 left in the second period to tie the game 2-2.

The Kings scored seven goals in their previous five games (1-3-1).

Video: WPG@LAK: Doughty nets Kings' third PPG of the game


Goal of the game

With the Jets on the power play, Pearson beat Josh Morrissey to a loose puck near the Kings blue line, put a move on the Winnipeg defenseman near the boards at center ice, and shot past Hellebuyck's blocker from the right faceoff circle.

Video: WPG@LAK: Pearson extends lead with impressive SHG


Save of the game

Bishop got his left pad on Joel Armia's one-timer from the bottom of the left hash marks at 1:05 of the first period.

Video: WPG@LAK: Bishop turns aside Armia's early one-timer


Unsung performance of the game

Kings defenseman Dennis Forbort had three shots on goal and three hits in 20:56, including 2:53 on the penalty kill.


Highlight of the game

Laine scored with a one-timer from the left circle that ricocheted off Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, the boards and Bishop's skate. "It's one of those things where it obviously happens, you're pretty mad, but at the same time you can't do much about it. You just kind of forget about it and move on," Bishop said.

Video: WPG@LAK: Laine pots PPG after multiple deflections


They said it

"We didn't do a good enough job getting into shooting lanes. We were out of sync running around too much. They were composed and took the shots when they got them, and we weren't able to get in front of them." -- Jets captain Blake Wheeler


"We have to win our games first. Whatever happens on the other side, for the wild-card race, is going to happen. But we have to make sure we're on our game, and making sure we're getting the two points every night." -- Kings captain Anze Kopitar on the their playoff chances


Video: WPG@LAK: Kopitar picks the corner for gorgeous PPG


"I said it when we traded for Ben Bishop. Jonathan Quick was going to get his days, and Ben has a good record against Winnipeg. I guess from a selfish standpoint, I wanted to get him a win too." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter on Bishop getting his first win since being acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26


Need to know

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien left the game late in the third period with an undisclosed injury following a collision with Carter. … Scheifele has seven points (one goal, six assists) during his five-game point streak. … Pearson's shorthanded goal was his first of the season. … Kopitar has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the past 13 games. He has scored five goals in the past 10 games after he had six in his first 57.


What's next

Jets: At the Anaheim Ducks on Friday (10 p.m. ET; PRIME, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Kings: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG+, NHL.TV)


Video: Special teams lead Kings past Jets, 5-2

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