Kings drop third in a row in lopsided loss to Jets

The Winnipeg Jets had a three-goal third period to get a 4-1 win over the Kings.

WINNIPEG — Dustin Byfuglien says the Winnipeg Jets continue to show that they’re not giving up.

Byfuglien and Paul Postma scored less than three minutes apart early in the third period to help the Jets down the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Thursday.

“It just shows that we care. We want to win and we’re not quitting,” said Byfuglien.

But the veteran defenceman wasn’t viewing the victory as an example that the Jets, who are last in the Central Division, can measure up to the Pacific Division-leading Kings, who dropped their third game in a row.

“We can measure some things, but for the most part we didn’t overly beat them,” said Byfuglien, who scored his 17th goal of the season.

“It was just a couple nice bounces our way and we got (the puck) in. For the most part, they controlled the game.”

Both Byfuglien, 15 seconds into the third period, and Postma, at 2:54, fired shots from the point that flew past a screened Jonathan Quick, who made 20 saves.

Ondrej Pavelec had 33 stops for the Jets, who ended a four-game homestand (2-1-1) and avoided being mathematically eliminated from the NHL playoff picture with the win.

Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford, with an empty netter, also scored for Winnipeg (31-37-6). Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each added a pair of assists.

Anze Kopitar netted his 25th goal of the season on the power play at 9:25 of the second period to get the Kings (44-25-5) onto the scoreboard first.

Defenceman Drew Doughty said his team, which tied their longest losing skid of the season, has to get back on track.

“You can’t be losing three games in a row at any time throughout the season,” said Doughty, whose assist gave him 48 points on the season.

“It’s really frustrating that we did this, and we need to fix things, like I said. And we need to get winning hockey games, because right now we’re blowing our spot at the top of the division and near the top of the conference.”

Winnipeg has 68 points after 74 games. A Jets’ loss and Minnesota’s 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames would have officially spelled no post-season chance for Winnipeg. The Wild have 83 points in 75 games.

The Kings outshot Winnipeg 14-4 in a scoreless first period and increased the gap to 29-14 after two periods.

“It’s all about building for next year at this point for us,” said Stafford. “It’s habits. We could have easily folded up tonight against a team like that was really bringing it to us.”

“We followed (Pavelec’s) lead. The way he was playing kept us in the game.”

Jeff Carter, who also assisted on Kopitar’s goal, said his team struggled.

“You can’t give up three or four goals a game if you’re not scoring,” he said. “So, we’ve got a lot of work to do. It starts from the top and trickles down and we’ve got to get going.”

Nikolaj Ehlers was back on Winnipeg’s top line with Scheifele and Wheeler wearing a full cage. The rookie left winger missed the past 10 games with an eye injury caused when he took a puck to the face during a March 3 game against the New York Islanders.

Winnipeg veteran defenceman Mark Stuart was also back on the ice after missing 18 games because of a broken hand.

The Jets head out for a two-game road trip, starting Saturday in Buffalo. Los Angeles is home to Edmonton on Saturday.

Notes: Jets defenceman Tyler Myers has been shut down for the season to correct long-term ailments. He had minor knee surgery Thursday that needed to be done before he could undergo hip surgery that needs 16 to 20 weeks of recovery time.

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