The story of the game could have been the controversial five-minute major and ensuing two power-play goals in the first period.
The Kings weren’t content to let that narrative stand and managed to push the game into overtime. But the two kids, Winnipeg rookie forward Patrik Laine and Jets forward Mark Scheifele, crafted the final word in the shootout, lifting the Jets to a 3-2 win against the Kings at MTS Center on Sunday afternoon.
It stopped an impressive streak. The Kings had been a combined 5-0 in overtime and the shootout this season.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had a good chance to take a look at the Finnish youngster, Laine, during the shootout and thought about the now-retired Teemu Selanne, who started his memorable NHL career in Winnipeg.
“I was looking at that stick [of Laine] and it reminded me of Teemu’s stick,” Sutter said. “I coached Teemu [in San Jose], so I go, ‘Oh, here it comes.’ Those two kids, Scheifele and Laine, coming into the game, they combined for 21 goals. … Those kids really are really good players.”
Said Kings goalie Peter Budaj: “Everybody talks about this kid [Laine]. I know he’s very good. He’s a very talented kid. Got great hands. When it comes to a shootout, it’s a battle. Sometimes, he’s going to make a nice move, just like he did.
“Sometimes you have to tip the hat. He made a nice move. Nothing you can do.”
The Kings had kept Scheifele and Laine off the scoresheet in regulation and overtime. Winnipeg’s goals, both on the power play, came from Adam Lowry and Marko Dano, after Kings left wing Kyle Clifford was assessed a five-minute major at 13:00 of the first period, for boarding Kyle Connor.
Connor left the game for evaluation but later returned.
The Kings’ goals were from Tanner Pearson (sixth of the season) and defenseman Tom Gilbert (first). Winger Jordan Nolan found Gilbert alone between the circles in front and Gilbert tied the score at 2 with 7:02 remaining in the third period.
Earlier from the bench, Sutter registered his displeasure to the officials about the boarding call. After the game, he displayed a fine sense of sarcasm when asked about the major. His words weren’t merely dripping with sarcasm, they were drenched with it.
“Oh, I totally agreed with it,” Sutter said. “It was a great call. I was surprised it wasn’t … I thought they’d get a 10 minute-power play out of it.
“In today’s two-referee system, you’re just hoping for one really good one.”
The two goals turned a 1-0 Kings lead into a 2-1 Jets advantage. Lowry scored on a rebound and Dano’s goal came with five seconds remaining on Clifford’s major penalty.
Said Pearson, whose wrist shot from above the left circle gave the Kings a lead at 5:38 of the first period: “I think the penalty kind of killed us in the first period. Being down one going into the third period on the road, coming back … we definitely battled throughout the game.”
The Kings were without their No. 1 center, captain Anze Kopitar, who was injured Friday in Ottawa and considered day to day because of an upper-body injury. Goalie Jack Campbell, who was Budaj’s backup Sunday, was recalled from the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate because of an injury to goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who hurt his groin in Ottawa.
Another significant and growing concern is their struggling power play. The Kings were zero for five against the Jets and even had a man advantage late in the third, which carried into the overtime. They have one power-play goal in nine games.
“Everything is about consistency, right?” said Kings winger Devin Setoguchi. “You’ve got to be consistent with your play. You look at the difference in the game. They were ready to go from the start. Their power play — they got two — our power play got zero.”