Game 64; 36-22-6
WINNIPEG - As the old cliche goes, the third time's the charm as the Los Angeles Kings pick up their first-ever win at the MTS Centre on, you guessed it, their third try, topping the Jets by a 3-1 score. The Kings arrived in Winnipeg on a roll looking to extend their five-game winning streak and, with a new face to the fold, did just that.
While there wasn't any scoring in the opening, the game certainly didn't lack any excitement in the early going. Both the Kings and the Jets went back-and-forth with a lot of physicality from both sides. The Kings had their chances, though, but couldn't capitalize outshooting Winnipeg 11-7 through the first 20 minutes.
In the second, it was the Jets who drew first blood.
12:03 into the middle frame, it was former King Olli Jokinen who opened the scoring. The Finnish veteran wristed his 15th past Jonathan Quick to get the MTS Centre buzzing - but the good feelings wouldn't last long. Just 42 seconds later, Dustin Brown added to his recent success tipping in his 12th past Ondrej Pavelec to tie it. Jarret Stoll and Slava Voynov got the assists.
The game remained deadlocked for just three-and-a-half minutes when Mike Richards slapped a rifle over Pavelec's glove and into the top corner to give Los Angeles their first lead of the night. The goal was Richards's ninth and was unassisted.
In the third, the Kings added some insurance just to be safe. With just 4:09 remaining in regulation and on the power play, Alec Martinez took matters into his own hands, skating into the slot and wristing a shot off the post and in. 3-1 Los Angeles. The goal was Martinez's fifth of the year and was also unassisted.
What was lost in Thursday night's win was the debut of Marian Gaborik with the Kings. Acquired from Columbus during Wednesday's trade deadline, the Slovak veteran kicked off his tour of duty with the Kings on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. While he was unable to register any points, Gaborik was nonetheless effective, creating plays, passing the puck around with fluidity (especially on the power play) and fitting in overall. Los Angeles's new No. 12 will take the end result, though.
This is now the second time this season where the Kings have won six-straight games.
Having watched his team outshoot the Jets 41-18, Jonathan Quick wasn't very busy in the Los Angeles goal but, as usual, was good when he had to be. With the win, Quick notches career win No. 169, moving him to within two of Rogie Vachon's franchise mark. Also, Darryl Sutter earns his 497th-career coaching win with the victory in Winnipeg. The feat moves him into a tie with Glen Sather for 19th place on the NHL's all-time wins list.
Since making a coaching change on January 12, the Winnipeg Jets have been the hottest team in hockey going 11-3-2 since then. But on Thursday, they ran into a Los Angeles Kings squad who knows how to get hot at just the right time. But the Kings have a couple of days off before hitting the ice again. They will now travel to Alberta, first in Edmonton for a Sunday matinee date with the Oilers.