Winnipeg Jets fail to capitalize on power-play chances in 3-2 loss to L.A. Kings

WINNIPEG — Captain Anze Kopitar recorded a goal and one assist in his 1,200th career NHL game Saturday to help lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

Adrian Kempe also had a goal and assist and Gabriel Vilardi notched his third goal of the season for the Kings (38-23-10), who have just three regulation losses in their last 18 road games (12-3-3).

Cal Petersen stopped 25 shots for Los Angeles, which ended a three-game road trip going 2-0-1.

Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry scored for the Jets, who started a three-game homestand.

Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for Winnipeg (33-27-10), which are 3-2-0 in their past five games.

Winnipeg was 0 for 6 on the power play and Los Angeles was 1 for 3.

The Kings led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 following the second.

The Jets had the game’s first power play, but the tables turned and Kempe scored shorthanded at 2:21. The goal was reviewed to see if he had kicked the puck into the net, but his 29th marker of the season stood.

Ehlers tied it up four minutes later when he burst down the left side of the ice and beat Petersen, but Kopitar took advantage of a Winnipeg turnover and recorded his 18th of the season to regain the lead at 10:32.

The visitors outshot the Jets 19-6 in the opening period.

Los Angeles stretched its lead to 3-1 at 3:05 of the second, with Vilardi getting credited for a power-play goal after the puck went in off the skate of Winnipeg defenceman Josh Morrissey.

Lowry squeezed the score 3-2 at 13:31 when he netted off a rebound four seconds after a Winnipeg power play expired.

The Jets were on the power play for the final three minutes of the second period because of overlapping Los Angeles penalties and had 1:05 with the man advantage to start the third.

Winnipeg had a couple of close-in scoring chances to start the third, but Petersen denied a tying goal. The Jets also had a power play eight minutes into the period and couldn’t corral a loose puck in front of the net and turn it into a goal.

The Jets went into the game four points back of the idle Vegas Golden Knights (79 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, and three points behind the Dallas Stars, who were in San Jose for a late Saturday game. Winnipeg has one game in hand over Vegas, but Dallas has played three fewer games than the Jets.

The Jets were without leading-scorer Kyle Connor and defenceman Nate Schmidt for the third straight game as they’ve been in the league’s COVID-19 protocol. They should be cleared by the time Winnipeg hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

The Kings are home to the Flames on Monday, a team they beat 3-2 in a shootout in Calgary last Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press