Despite Another Showcase of Resiliency, Kings Sputter, Falling Short in Winnipeg
Game 2; 1-1-0
WINNIPEG - They started well and even finished strong, but the Los Angeles Kings fell just short of overcoming their deficit, losing to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 5-3.
Despite playing the previous night, Jonathan Quick got the start in goal again and while he wasn't terrible by any means, he looked tired on the ice. In his defense, he was able to make 16 saves and wasn't pulled until the third period.
At the 14:17 mark, defenseman Matt Greene scored his first on the year but just a minute-and-a-half later, Evander Kane answered to put Winnipeg on the board with his first of the season.
In the second, there was only one goal scored and that came courtesy of former King Olli Jokinen who (also with his first) put the Jets out in front for the first time.
In the third, the floodgates started to open as one of Los Angeles's familiar former rivals Devin Setoguchi scored twice in the opening 5:19 of the frame to put Winnipeg up 4-1. The latter tally led to Quick's exit and Ben Scrivens, albeit not under the greatest of circumstances, made his regular-season debut for the Kings.
While he did just face three shots in relief, Scrivens was flawless while the Kings went the other way and made a game of it.
For Los Angeles, the power play went right to work. At the 11:00 mark, Jeff Carter snapped his second of the year past Ondrej Pavelec to cut the lead in half. Then, under five minutes later, again on the man-advantage, it was the birthday boy Justin Williams capitalizing to pull the Kings to within one.
With the sudden surge of momentum, the Kings were pressing but Pavelec was standing on his head keeping the silver-and-black at bay.
Whatever pressure put on Winnipeg's shoulders late was lifted as Bryan Little potted his second of the campaign into the empty net to clinch the win for the home side.
With that, the Jets improve to 2-0-0 while the Kings have to settle for a split on their mini-voyage of the Midwest.
As mentioned earlier, the Kings started out well. In fact, they outshot the Jets 18-7 in the opening frame but were outshot 13-8 and 13-10 in the final two periods respectively.
Despite allowing three goals, Ondrej Pavelec's performance was definitely one to remember as he turned away 33 shots to preserve the hard-fought win.
Despite the loss, there wasn't anything to dwell on for the Kings. Yes, it would have been nice to see them tie and force overtime but the character they showed making a game out of it, especially surrending a pair of goals early in the third would have forced most teams to throw in the towel and focus on the next game. To Los Angeles's credit, however, they did no such thing.
Jonathan Quick could have had a better night but again, playing on consecutive nights rarely leaves a netminder on top of his game, regardless how immortal they look on the ice. I am, however, most confident that No. 32 will be rearing to go on Monday night when the Kings open their home schedule against the New York Rangers.
The Kings start the season 1-1-0 and now return home where you can guarantee that the Staples Center faithful will be deafening on Monday.