Returnees lift Jets to win

Formerly injured troops assist in shootout victory over Kings

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LOS ANGELES, CA -- Reinforcements may have arrived for the Winnipeg Jets and they not only helped put a tourniquet on a fresh wound, but were critical in a rally on the West Coast.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/01/2015 (2949 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

LOS ANGELES, CA — Reinforcements may have arrived for the Winnipeg Jets and they not only helped put a tourniquet on a fresh wound, but were critical in a rally on the West Coast.

 

The Jets ended a two-game losing streak that had also seen them lose four of their last five with a 5-4 shootout win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,238 at Staples Center.

Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian, left, celebrates his goal with left wing Evander Kane during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Jets won 5-4 in a shootout.

The win improves the Jets to 21-14-7 and 49 points — one more than the Kings, who are now 19-13-10 — as those two clubs continue to hold down the two Western Conference wild-card spots. Calgary also won Saturday night and now has 47 points while Colorado has reeled off three straight victories to improve to 44 points.

In short, it’s only going to get juicier from here to the end of the regular season.

HELLO, MY NAME IS… Three familiar faces returned to the lineup against the Kings as Mark Stuart, Toby Enstrom and Evander Kane all suited up after missing 19, nine and five games, respectively, with an assortment of hurts.

Enstrom would play 25 minutes and 12 seconds — second only to Dustin Byfuglien’s 29:51 — while Stuart played just 10:59 paired with Jay Harrison. That pairing struggled against the Kings’ big forwards. Kane played just under 20 minutes and tied with Zach Bogosian, who returned Thursday in Arizona, for the most hits for the club with six.

Bogosian scored his first of the season with just under six minutes remaining to stop the bleeding that had seen the Jets build a 3-zip lead before falling behind 4-3.

PUNCH/COUNTERPUNCH: The game started much the same way as the loss in Arizona on Thursday — with a Jets player in the penalty box inside the first minute and the Kings on the power play. But after the Jets killed a Byfuglien hooking infraction, they delivered three quick goals in a span of three minutes — on three shots, no less — in building a 3-zip lead courtesy Mathieu Perreault, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler before the game was seven minutes old.

The Kings then counterpunched with two power-play goals in a span of 1:47, the first by Anze Kopitar coming with a two-man advantage followed quickly by a Justin Williams marker. And so as much as the Jets had a stranglehold on the game early, they loosened their grip and the penalty-kill unit — so solid for most of the year — has now been stung for eight power-play goals in the last five games.

NOTABLE NUMBERS: Andrew Ladd extended his current point streak to five games (3g, 4A) with his assist on Little’s goal in the first period… Perreault’s goal gave him 11 on the season. After opening the year goal-less in his first 19 games as a Jet, he now has 11 in his last 22 games.

Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards misses a shot against Winnipeg Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson on the final shot of the shootout in an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Jets won 5-4.

OT/EXTRA FUN: The Jets controlled play in OT, outshooting the Kings 3-1 but — in a recurring theme — they spent the last 30 seconds with their fingers crossed after Ladd was fingered for a holding call in the defensive zone.

That brief chance was killed, sending the game into the shootout where Wheeler, Perreault — on an incredible save by Jonathan Quick — and Ladd were stopped before Little finally scored. Meanwhile, Michael Hutchinson was the better of Drew Doughty, Trevor Lewis, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to help the Jets earn an important second point.

NEXT: The Jets hopped on a bus immediately after the game to head to Anaheim for today’s matchup against the Ducks and the retirement of Teemu Selanne’s jersey. It is the fifth of the 10 back-to-back contests this season, with the Jets holding a 2-1-1 record in the second half.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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