Wheeler scores 2, Jets beat Kings 6-3

NHL
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)Blake Wheeler was glad to be back playing on a line with Mark Scheifele, and it showed.

Wheeler had two goals and an assist in his 700th game in franchise history, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists and Patrik Laine scored a goal into an empty net and added one assist. Jansen Harkins and Mason Appleton also scored, and Jack Roslovic and Scheifele each had two assists.

”You know I love playing with Scheif, and I think the feeling’s mutual. It’s like riding a bike,” said Wheeler, who last lined up with the alternate captain in early November after veteran center Bryan Little was injured.

Jets coach Paul Maurice moved Wheeler from centering the second line to the wing with Scheifele and Ehlers in the second period.

”It’s something that you know you like, you’ve seen it work so well, but we’ve had our challenges with pieces of lines,” Maurice said of reuniting Wheeler and Scheifele.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots for the Jets, who went 4-2-0 on a six-game homestand.

Dustin Brown scored twice and Martin Frk also had a goal for the Kings, who were coming off two straight wins. Anze Kopitar and Matt Roy each added two assists. Calvin Petersen finished with 28 saves.

It was the Kings’ first game without forward Tyler Toffoli, who was traded to Vancouver on Monday. The team also scratched defenseman Alec Martinez, reportedly because another trade was in the works.

”Just where we are at the (trade) deadline, and as we go forward we want to keep certain people healthy,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said when asked why Martinez didn’t play.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Jets acquired defenseman Dylan DeMelo from Ottawa. He remained in Ottawa until Winnipeg begins a four-game road trip against the Senators on Thursday.

”You’re fighting for a playoff spot, trying to add some pieces that fit in and we did that,” Ehlers said. ”We’re excited to have him in. Hopefully, he’s able to jump right in.”

The Kings led 1-0 after the first period with Brown scoring 35 seconds into the game off a rebound.

”Our first period was our best period,” Brown said. ”It kind of faded. Each period kind of got worse for us as a group. We started well but just couldn’t maintain.”

Winnipeg scored three times in the second to take the lead.

Harkins got his second goal of the season after Laine passed him the puck during a 2-on-1 and he beat Petersen with a low shot with 6:47 to go in the middle period to tie the score.

Appleton made it 2-1 with 2:55 left in the period when Roslovic dropped him a pass and he fired the puck between Petersen’s pads.

Wheeler recorded his 19th goal of the season 88 seconds later on a 2-on-1 with Scheifele.

Los Angeles made it 3-2 at 1:21 of the third when Adrian Kempe shot the puck wide of the net, Frk picked it up behind Hellebuyck and wrapped around for the goal.

Ehlers also finished off a 2-on-1 with Scheifele to regain the two-goal lead at 5:49.

Brown made it 4-3 with 4:44 left in the third when he tipped in a point shot from Roy. Kopitar picked up his second assist, giving him six assists in a three-game point streak.

Laine scored into an empty net with 2:17 to go and Wheeler tipped in Neal Pionk’s point shot to finish the scoring with 1:29 left.

UP NEXT

Kings: Host Florida to start a five-game homestand on Thursday night.

Jets: At Ottawa to open a four-game trip on Thursday night.

More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP-Sports

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