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Second line leads Jets past Kings

The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets look like they finally found some able bodies to play alongside rugged winger Evander Kane.

After two seasons featuring a revolving door of forwards on the club's second line, the Jets have found some early success -- and it showed Friday night in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Kane scored a goal in the first period and assisted on linemate Devon Setoguchi's two third-period goals as the Jets won their home-opener to improve to 2-0. Setoguchi registered an assist on Kane's goal, while rookie center Mark Scheifele also had an assist.

The trio is being counted on heavily to take some of the pressure off the top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler this season.

"When you enjoy the guys you're playing with, it makes it even easier," said Kane. "Obviously, me and Seto have some chemistry and Scheif has done a really good job of coming in the middle and being a big part of that trio.

"Hopefully we can continue to get better and continue to produce."

The Kings fell to 1-1 after beginning the 2013-14 season with road games in Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Setoguchi, acquired from the Minnesota Wild in early July for a second-round pick, admitted he's found a comfort zone on the left side of the second line in the early going.

"It's a lot of fun, that's for sure," he said. "It's tough keeping up with (Kane). He's so explosive. His shot, his starts, his speed, his physicality, he does it all. So, it's nice that I can complement him the best way I can.

"I'm fortunate I get a chance to play with him, and hopefully we can keep going and develop more chemistry."

Olli Jokinen and Bryan Little also scored for the Jets, who moved into the Western Conference this season after two seasons in the Eastern Conference.

Kings defenseman Matt Greene opened the scoring in the first period to give Los Angeles a short-lived 1-0 advantage.

The Jets led 4-1 midway through the final period. Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored power-play goals in the third period, but the Kings' comeback would fall just short.

Little scored into an empty net with just 47 seconds left to seal the win.

"We have a way of making games exciting and we don't want to make a habit of this," said Jets coach Claude Noel.

"If you're going to get into penalty problems, you're going to get into some problems. It's a recipe for some tough things. You've got to stay out of the box."

The Jets were fortunate to come out of the first period tied 1-1 after they were outshot 18-7. Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec was solid only allowing in Greene's point shot that bounced off Winnipeg blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien's leg and into the net at 14:17.

Kane scored just 88 seconds later on a wrist shot that Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stabbed at with his glove but couldn't snare at 15:45.

The go-ahead goal eventually came later in the period when Jokinen scored on a rebound at 12:54 after a scramble in front. The goal was the 300th of the veteran center's NHL career.

The Jets led 2-1 through 40 minutes.

Setoguchi scored on a deflection at 2:22 of the final period and notched his second on a wraparound just three minutes later. Kings coach Darryl Sutter promptly gave Quick the hook and inserted backup goalie Ben Scrivens.

Sutter said it was a calculated move to give his club a jolt.

"The three reasons you pull goalies, from a coaching standpoint is No.1, momentum, No.2, goalie's performance and No.3, the team's performance," he said. "So, I think at that stage it was momentum.

"You change goalies in the middle of the game, that goalie's job is to hold the fort. So, he did that. He held the fort for us."

The Kings rallied, and Carter and Williams scored to narrow the gap, but couldn't pull even.

NOTES: The Kings visited Winnipeg for just the second time since the Jets' franchise relocated to Canada from Atlanta before the 2011 season. In the first meeting, the Jets beat the Kings 1-0 on Evander Kane's overtime goal on Dec. 27, 2011. ... Jets rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba had an impressive start to his NHL career on Tuesday night in Edmonton. He sparked Winnipeg with a goal and an assist in a 5-4 win over the Oilers and led his club with 25:02 of ice time. He became the first NHL player to lead his team in ice time in his first NHL game since Colorado's Jonas Holos played 23:57 on Oct. 16, 2010. ... The Kings have played 38 playoff games the last two years, the most in the NHL. They won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and advanced to the third round in 2013. ... Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien started the season with three assists on Tuesday. That tied his highest assists total in a game, which he has accomplished four times in his career. ... Carter scored his first goal of the season with less than seven minutes left in the third period to tie the score at 2 on Thursday night in Minneapolis against the Wild and then added a goal in the shootout. He was fourth in goals (26) in the NHL last season and played all 48 games of the lockout-shortened season. ... There was plenty of game-day Twitter action about Kane's engagement to his longtime girlfriend the night before. A picture of her left hand shows what looks like a bejeweled ring finger. Kane can afford it. The 22-year-old winger is making $4.5 million this season. ... Kings coach Darryl Sutter was just 42 games shy of 1,000 in his NHL coaching career, with stints in Chicago, San Jose, Calgary and LA.

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