WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Dion Phaneuf is fitting in nicely with the Los Angeles Kings.
The veteran defenseman scored on the power play for his third goal in four games with Los Angeles, helping the Kings cap a seven-game road trip with a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Alec Martinez also scored with the man advantage and Dustin Brown’s goal late in the third period stood as the winner. Torrey Mitchell had the other goal for the Kings, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 shots.
”Why are we calling them (Martinez and Phaneuf) the second unit?” Los Angeles coach John Stevens quipped. ”They were the first unit tonight.
”I thought they were terrific. They had a game plan. They moved the puck quickly and they came up with a lot of loose pucks. Dion’s been a good fit there. He wants to shoot the puck all the time.”
Anze Kopitar picked up an assist on Brown’s goal, giving him his 800th NHL point in his 900th career game.
Patrik Laine scored on the power play with 49 seconds left to trim the deficit for Winnipeg, which had won three in a row. Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien had the other Jets goals, and Laine added an assist.
Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves for the Jets, who completed a 6-3-1 homestand – their longest of the season. Winnipeg has given up four power-play goals in the past two games.
”Penalty kill is kind of leaking oil right now,” Wheeler said.
”Just kind of wrong penalties at the wrong time. They capitalized, stole some momentum. Still 2-2 going into the third at home, I don’t think we hate that spot. Just weren’t able to get one early enough to go in the third.”
It was the third consecutive win for the Kings, who were coming off a 3-1 victory at Chicago the night before and went 4-3 on their trip.
Los Angeles is tied with Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division with 71 points, three behind second-place San Jose.
”We knew we had a chance to get into the playoff picture here tonight so we were pretty determined to do that and we just did a great job,” said Kuemper, who won his fifth straight start.
The Jets went on an early two-man advantage and made it count when Wheeler fired a high shot over Kuemper’s glove at 5:46 of the first period.
Wheeler also had an assist in running his point streak to six games, with three goals and eight assists during that span. He has 14 points in his last 10 games.
The Kings started off the second period on a high note with their own power-play goal. Martinez’s point shot went through traffic for his sixth of the season at 1:49.
Phaneuf then added his sixth goal of the season – and third since being traded to the Kings from Ottawa last week – at 17:05 with Jets forward Nic Petan in the penalty box for slashing.
”They had some really good screeners in front of me,” said Hellebuyck, who was making his ninth straight start. ”I found myself up high a lot.
”Give them credit, they’re a good team. They’ve won a couple of Stanley Cups for that reason: They know how to screen a goaltender. It makes a world of difference.”
Byfuglien’s fourth goal of the season tied it 2-all with 65 seconds left in the second.
Los Angeles took a 3-2 lead when Mitchell scored his second goal in two games by picking up a bouncing puck in front of Winnipeg’s crease and finding some open net at 6:17.
Byfuglien took a high-sticking penalty with 6:14 left in the third, and Brown scored eight seconds after it expired. Kopitar’s assist gave him 19 points in his last 16 games (seven goals, 12 assists).
NOTES: Both teams went 2 for 5 on the power play. … Laine has scored an NHL-leading 16 of his 27 goals on the power play.
Kings: Host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Jets: Begin a two-game road trip Friday in St. Louis.
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