Jets aim to build on three-game win streak vs. Kings
After a late, two-goal rush secured a comeback victory at Anaheim on Tuesday, the Winnipeg Jets could have floated to their next stop in Southern California for a matchup at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored the game-tying goal against the Ducks with 1:20 remaining, then scored again a mere 19 seconds later to give the Jets the improbable 4-3 victory. It was the third consecutive victory for Winnipeg after a 0-2-1 start to the season.
In the case of the Kings, if their charter-flight landing from their 0-3-1 road trip was bumpy, it would have only been fitting. The Kings ended the trip with consecutive defeats at St. Louis, getting outscored by a combined 10-3 in the process.
The Jets already are making their second visit to the Los Angeles area after opening the season with a 4-1 defeat at Anaheim. Now they will play at Los Angeles for the first time since a victory there Nov. 30, 2019.
Only twice in franchise history have the Jets trailed in the final two minutes and won, previously doing it in 2004 when they were the Atlanta Thrashers. The last NHL player to pull off the trick by himself, before Ehlers, was the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews in 2015.
“It just shows that we don’t quit in that room,” Ehlers said. “We keep going. We came back and (won), so that’s very exciting for us.”
Evgeny Svechnikov scored his first goal as a member of the Jets after sporadic play with the Detroit Red Wings the past four seasons, while Pierre-Luc Dubois extended his points streak to five games with an assist.
Andrew Copp scored his fourth goal and has given the team solid production with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler both in COVID-19 protocol.
The Kings are missing some key talent as well. Los Angeles was down to five defensemen in Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Blues after Sean Walker left with a knee injury. The Kings have been without star defenseman Drew Doughty after a knee-to-knee hit Friday at Dallas.
Doughty delivered a goal and six assists through the first four games, while Anze Kopitar had six goals and nine points through the first four games, but the Kings are just 1-4-1 to open the season.
On Wednesday, the team announced Doughty would miss eight weeks and Walker the rest of the season.
Doughty has a large bruise on the top of his right tibia, according to general manager Rob Blake. Walker tore the ACL and MCL ligaments in his right knee and will undergo surgery, the team stated.
Before Wednesday’s news, Kings defenseman Matt Roy was asked about stepping up to fill the void with Walker and Doughty out.
“Yeah, naturally, but I think we all need to do that, on a daily basis, even with them in the lineup, so we can help them out a bit more,” Roy said. “I was trying to do that (Monday), but I think we all need to pitch in and do more of our parts.”
After losing Walker to his knee injury in the first period against the Blues, the Kings’ short-handed defense did hold St. Louis to three shots in the second period but couldn’t prevent a late onslaught, surrendering three goals over the final 17 minutes.
“There’s a lot of checkmarks when it comes to the competitiveness and the effort from everybody, players one through 20,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “Everybody found a way to give us something, but it’s obviously not enough right now and that needs to improve.”
–Field Level Media