June 15, 2019

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Jets start West Coast swing with 3-2 win over lowly Kings

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)</p><p>Winnipeg Jets celebrate Tyler Myers' goal during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, in Los Angeles. </p>

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Winnipeg Jets celebrate Tyler Myers' goal during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES – The Winnipeg Jets put in one of their finest defensive performances of the season here Monday night to stow away another two critical points.

The visiting Jets were at their miserly best in posting a 3-2 victory over the lowly Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center, beefing up their lead in the Central Division.

Up by a goal, Winnipeg didn't yield a shot in the third period until the 16:50 mark when goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped a shot in tight by Carl Grundstrom on a two-on-one break.

Winnipeg held L.A. to just two shots in the final frame, and only 17 in total. Brossoit, making his first start since March 8, said he didn't mind the inactivity around his crease.

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LOS ANGELES – The Winnipeg Jets put in one of their finest defensive performances of the season here Monday night to stow away another two critical points.

The visiting Jets were at their miserly best in posting a 3-2 victory over the lowly Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center, beefing up their lead in the Central Division.

Up by a goal, Winnipeg didn't yield a shot in the third period until the 16:50 mark when goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped a shot in tight by Carl Grundstrom on a two-on-one break.

Winnipeg held L.A. to just two shots in the final frame, and only 17 in total. Brossoit, making his first start since March 8, said he didn't mind the inactivity around his crease. 

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor, left, scores on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jack Campbell, front right, during the first period.

(AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ)

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor, left, scores on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jack Campbell, front right, during the first period.

"When you don't get your first shot until, I don't even know what it was, within five minutes left of the third period, that's a good sign. I thought we played a full 60 minutes against a team that's not in the playoffs and we still came to play. That's a good character win," he said.

"Obviously, you'd like to get action consistently to stay in it. In the same breath, it's always nice when your team dominates. You can get caught cold, but in TV timeouts and in between whistles I'm doing a bit of movement to keep the body feeling warm."

The Jets (43-25-4), winners of three straight and six of nine in March, own top spot in the Central and are three points up on the Nashville Predators with a game in hand.

L.A. (25-39-8) has lost three consecutive games and occupies the Western Conference basement.

The Jets resume a three-game road trip against Pacific Division teams Wednesday in Anaheim and finish up 24 hours later in Vegas.

Winnipeg Jets' Kevin Hayes, right, celebrates his goal with teammates Nikolaj Ehlers, centre, and Ben Chiarot during the first period.

(AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ)

Winnipeg Jets' Kevin Hayes, right, celebrates his goal with teammates Nikolaj Ehlers, centre, and Ben Chiarot during the first period.

Kevin Hayes and Kyle Connor scored first-period goals for the Jets, while Tyler Myers scored late in the middle period to snap a 2-2 tie with the Kings.

Appropriately, Myers was named the game's first star. He logged nearly 24 minutes of ice time, fired three pucks on goalie Jack Campbell – including a laser that beat him high glove – and dished out a punishing check on Alex Iafollo.

"He's a big boy who can skate, he keeps a lot of pucks in the offensive zone and it's annoying to play against him," said Hayes, picked up by the Jets at the trade deadline from the New York Rangers three weeks ago. "It's a lot of fun to play with him."

Kings winger Dustin Brown had knotted the game on the power play midway through the second period with a drive that beat Brossoit low to the far side.

The Jets killed off an L.A. power play later in the period – an ill-advised trip by Patrik Laine in the offensive zone – and just seconds later Myers broke in on a two-one-one with the Finnish sniper and rifled his ninth goals on the year.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit stops a shot from Los Angeles Kings' Matt Roy during the second period.

(AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ)

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit stops a shot from Los Angeles Kings' Matt Roy during the second period.

Myers was asked if he took a peek over to see if Laine was open.

"No... I'm the shooter," he said, grinning.

He's now equalled his best goal-scoring output since the 2015-16 season and is just two shy of his career high of 11 set during his inaugural NHL season with the Buffalo Sabres (2009-10). He won the Calder Trophy that season as the NHL's top rookie.

"It was nice. I remember in the scrum (Brossoit) made a big save, a guy had a good whack at it. It popped out to me, I was fortunate we had so much room and fortunate it went in," said Myers.

The Jets managed to protect a one-goal lead with little consternation, not unlike Saturday's 2-1 triumph at home to the Calgary Flames. Before that, the Jets earned a 4-3 win over the powerful Boston Bruins.

Winnipeg Jets' Tyler Myers, right, controls the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings' Alex Iafallo during the second period.

(AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ)

Winnipeg Jets' Tyler Myers, right, controls the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings' Alex Iafallo during the second period.

Hayes said that bodes well for a squad with designs on a long, fruitful playoff run.

"It's a good quality to have. There's no panic in our game, we keep playing four lines and everyone contributes and it just shows the quality of our team," he said.

"When you think about the Jets, it's a high-scoring team. But these last couple of games we're playing good defence in the third and squeezing out wins. That's what it takes at this time of year when you need important points and to set yourself up in the best situation you can get in for after the season."

After half a period of tedium, the Jets' second forward hit the scoresheet first. Connor's wrap-around try didn't work but Hayes stuffed in his 17th goal of the season – his third since coming over from the Rangers – at the 11:32 mark.

Connor followed up the helper with his 28th tally of the year just 55 seconds later with the Kings a man short. Jacob Trouba, quarterbacking the power play with both Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey in sick bay, blasted a point shot that goalie Campbell couldn't squeeze and Connor swatted in the rebound.

Los Angeles Kings' Brendan Leipsic, left, and Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu are separated by an official during the second period Monday, in Los Angeles.

(AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ)

Los Angeles Kings' Brendan Leipsic, left, and Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu are separated by an official during the second period Monday, in Los Angeles.

Kings defenceman Sean Walker cut the lead in half with just over five minutes left in the period, fooling Brossoit with shot that glanced off Jets winger Brandon Tanev's stick.

Brown tied it 2-2 with Jets blue-liner Sami Niku serving an interference penalty. But the Kings went almost 20 minutes without testing Brossoit, through the late stages of the middle frame until Grundstrom's wrister with just over three minutes left.

"There wasn't a lot of easy offence for either team but we, especially in the third period, really started to skate and put some pressure on and limited what they could do with the puck," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "We got better as the game went on.

"We've had three of them (Boston, Calgary and L.A.) and handled them right and played well. We like our third periods and that's the key piece for us in each of our last three games, all one-goal wins, our third period has been our strongest period."

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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History

Updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 12:13 AM CDT: updates headline

12:21 AM: Adds photos

1:27 AM: Full write through, final version.

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