Captain Andrew Ladd scored twice and Blake Wheeler added a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets picked up an important two points in a 5-2 win over the L.A. Kings Sunday night.
Winnipeg now has a three-point cushion on the Minnesota Wild for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Jets trail the Blackhawks by just three points for third spot in the Central Division.
“Ladd’s [past] three games have been spectacular,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said per NHL.com. “He really is driving that line [with Bryan Little and Michael Frolik]. There is a consistency to [Ladd’s] game and the way that he prepares, the way he practices and the way he plays that you have to have from your leader.”
The loss is the third straight for L.A. after an eight-game winning streak.
The Kings remain outside the playoff picture. L.A. is tied with Calgary (70 points) in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker. The Kings are three points back of the Wild for the final wild-card spot.
Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers had the other goals for Winnipeg. Michael Hutchinson made 18 saves for his 19th win of the season.
Jeff Carter had both Kings’ goals.
“We know what to expect coming in here,” said Carter. “We didn’t play near or close to what we should be playing to come close to getting two points. We need to get it going. We’re in a tight race, and every game for us right now is a playoff game, and we need to get our level up.”
Jonathan Quick allowed four goals on 21 shots and was replaced by Martin Jones to start the third period. Jones made seven saves in relief.
Midway through the third period the Jets acquired Lee Stempniak from the New York Rangers for Carl Klingberg.