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LA Kings Squander Three-Goal Lead, Finish Season with Shootout Loss to Jets

Photo credit: Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 82; 48-28-6

LOS ANGELES — Their fate was in their own hands. The Los Angeles Kings needed just a win and the Pacific Division crown was theirs and, after jumping out to a 3-0 lead, it seemed inevitable. However, the Winnipeg Jets, who had entered Saturday winners of three-in-a-row, mounted a comeback as they defeated the Kings 4-3 in the shootout.

Tyler Toffoli opened the scoring at 9:18 of the first, netting his 31st against Ondrej Pavelec to put the home team out in front. Dustin Brown got an assist along with Jeff Carter, who matched a career-high with his 38th helper. Then, just over four minutes later Milan Lucic matched his own career high in assists with 35 as his no-look pass to Tanner Pearson made it 2-0. The goal, Pearson’s 15, was also assisted by Anze Kopitar.

Photo credit: Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo credit: Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

After Andy Andreoff scored his 8th early in the second, the Kings were cruising with a comfortable three-goal lead. But not so fast.

In the final three minutes of the middle frame, Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers each scored to pull the Jets to within a goal. Then, 3:21 into the third, Blake Wheeler potted his 26th to tie the game.

After nothing was settled in overtime, Mark Scheifele scored for Winnipeg while Pavelec was flawless, leading the Jets to the shootout victory to end their season on a high note.

For the Kings, they earned a point to finish the year with 102 — second-best mark in club history — but their chances at a division title hinge on Sunday’s action when the Anaheim Ducks visit the Washington Capitals. A win for the Ducks and the division is theirs but a loss in any fashion and the Pacific goes to the silver-and-black.

It will be a suspenseful finish.

About Ryan Cowley

Ryan Cowley has been writing about the Los Angeles Kings since 2009, beginning as the head writer and editor of Make Way for the Kings since its inception. Until the summer of 2015, Make Way was run by the FanvsFan Network (www.makewayforthekings.com) but has since become independent at its new address: www.makewayforthekings.net Ryan is an NHL-accredited writer who has covered such events as the Stanley Cup Final and Stadium Series. He is also a graduate of Comedy Writing & Performance from Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

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