LOS ANGELES — Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets eliminated the Los Angeles Kings from Stanley Cup Playoff contention with a 3-2 win at Staples Center on Monday.
Tyler Myers and Kevin Hayes scored for the Jets (43-25-4), who have won three in a row and lead the Nashville Predators by three points for first place in the Central Division with a game in hand. Laurent Brossoit made 15 saves.
“When you think about the Jets, it’s a high-scoring team, but these last couple games we’re playing good defense in the third and squeezing out wins,” Hayes said. “And that’s what it takes this time of year when you need important points to set yourself up for the best situation you can get after the (regular) season.”
[WATCH: All Jets vs. Kings highlights]
Dustin Brown and Sean Walker scored for the Kings (25-39-8), who have lost three in a row and are 2-12-4 in their past 18 games. Jack Campbell made 25 saves.
“No one guy in this room should be just okay with what’s been going on this year,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “But with that being said, there’s 10 games left. There are guys that are trying to stay in the lineup, there are guys that are trying to move themselves in the League, and there are guys that are older that went to keep playing in this League. So there is a lot to play for.”
Myers gave Winnipeg a 3-2 lead at 16:50 of the second period. After gathering a loose puck in the Jets zone, Myers skated in on a 2-on-1 with Patrik Laine, who had just exited the penalty box, before scoring top shelf from the left circle.
Myers joked that he never thought about passing to Laine, who is second on the team with 29 goals: “I’m the shooter.”
Los Angeles went 19:27 between the second and third period without a shot on goal. Brossoit did not have to make a save in the third period until he stopped Carl Grundstrom on an odd-man rush with 3:51 remaining.
“That’s the key piece for us in each of our last three games, [each a] one-goal win, our third period has been the strongest period,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Hayes put the Jets ahead 1-0 at 11:32 of the first period on a rebound off a wraparound attempt by Connor, who made it 2-0 at 12:37 after getting his own rebound in the crease on the power play.
Walker cut it to 2-1 at 14:53 on a slap shot that deflected off the stick of Jets forward Brandon Tanev and went over Brossoit’s left shoulder.
Brown tied it 2-2 at 10:21 of the second period on a wrist shot from the left circle on the power play.
“We got ourselves back to even, which was good,” Kings coach Willie Desjardins said. “And then we had a chance. That’s the way it always works, we had a chance at the one end, they come down and score. [Myers’ goal] was a tough one to give up because we had been playing better.”
They said it
“We’ve taken a lot of pride in our third periods this year. I think the stats show that, and I thought we locked it down really well. (We) came out exactly the way we wanted. We didn’t want to sit back, we came out hard and we kept playing the same game throughout, so it was a really good effort.” — Jets defenseman Tyler Myers
“It’s the one thing you never want to happen, but I think that it’s not something we’ve been focused on. We’ve been more focused on just game by game trying to get things going.” — Kings coach Willie Desjardins on being eliminated from playoff contention
Need to know
Connor has 27 assists this season, an NHL career high. … Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played in his 400th consecutive game, the fifth longest active streak in the NHL. … Laine has gone nine games without a goal, his second longest drought this season. He went 15 games without scoring from Jan. 15-Feb. 20. … With the secondary assist on Connor’s goal, Blake Wheeler has 68 on the season, one shy of tying Marc Savard (2005-06) for the most in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history.
Jets: At the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN3, NHL.TV)
Kings: Host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)