Mike Richards scored the game winner on a Winnipeg Jets’ giveaway to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 win Thursday night.
The victory ran the Kings’ (36-22-6) winning streak to six games.
Dustin Brown scored Los Angeles’ first goal and Alec Martinez added a third-period power-play goal. Goalie Jonathan Quick made 17 saves.
Olli Jokinen had his 15th goal of the season for Winnipeg (30-27-7) and a busy Ondrej Pavelec stopped 38 shots.
Winnipeg and Phoenix were tied at 67 points heading into the game, one point behind Dallas for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver was one back of the Jets and Coyotes.
Vancouver was visiting Dallas on Thursday night and Phoenix was hosting Montreal.
The biggest cheer in the scoreless first period was for Jets forward Dustin Byfuglien, after he sent Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin over the boards into the bottom of Winnipeg’s bench.
Los Angeles outshot the Jets 11-7 in the opening frame.
Winnipeg didn’t get its first shot of the second period until almost seven minutes in, but the Jets scored on their 11th of the game.
Evander Kane went around Kings defenceman Drew Doughty and then beat Muzzin to the puck off the boards behind the net, sending a quick pass to Jokinen who shot the puck past Quick at 12:03.
But the jubilation of the MTS Centre only lasted 42 seconds.
Brown scored his 12th goal of the season after centre Jarret Stoll sent a long backhand pass across the front of the net and Brown got his stick on it. The puck trickled across the goal-line past Pavelec at 12:45.
The Kings went up 2-1 on a Winnipeg giveaway.
Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom was at the boards by the Kings’ bench and made a pass across the ice that was supposed to be for Jokinen, but Richards intercepted it halfway, crossed the blue-line and then fired a shot by Pavelec at 16:15.
Los Angeles also outshot the Jets 10-6 in the second. The Kings are now 19-0-0 this season when leading after the second period.
With Jets forward Blake Wheeler in the penalty box for high-sticking, defenceman Martinez scored unassisted at 15:51 with a shot on Pavelec’s blocker side.
Both teams were featuring some new lines, but for different reasons.
Marian Gaborik was making his debut with the Kings after being acquired in a trade with Columbus on Wednesday. He was on the top line with centre Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.
The Jets had to juggle all four lines from Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders because of injuries.
Winnipeg rookie centre Mark Scheifele sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the loss. The second-line centre is out for at least four weeks and possibly the rest of the regular season.
Forward Chris Thorburn was also injured in the game and is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Those deletions made head coach Paul Maurice put back together his top line of Andrew Ladd, centre Bryan Little and Wheeler.
Jokinen was centring the second line with Kane and Byfuglien. Michael Frolik, who’s only played a few games at centre during his six-year NHL career, was put in the middle with Matt Halischuk and Devin Setoguchi.
The fourth line was centre Jim Slater with Eric Tangradi and Anthony Peluso.
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