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Perfetti pots three points as Winnipeg Jets edge L.A. Kings 4-3

WINNIPEG — Cole Perfetti stayed patient and it paid off. With his Winnipeg Jets pushing for the playoffs, the 22-year-old forward was a healthy scratch for six of the team's last nine games.
Los Angeles Kings' Matt Roy (3) gets tangled up with Winnipeg Jets' Nino Niederreiter (62) in front of Kings goaltender Cam Talbot (39) during the third period of NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday April 1, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade

WINNIPEG — Cole Perfetti stayed patient and it paid off.

With his Winnipeg Jets pushing for the playoffs, the 22-year-old forward was a healthy scratch for six of the team's last nine games. Then, on Monday, he replaced an ill Tyler Toffoli on the second line against the L.A. Kings. 

The move paid off — Perfetti scored twice and contributed an assist as the Jets edged the Kings 4-3 to snap a six-game losing skid. 

“I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. It has been tough the last little bit,” Perfetti said of sitting out. “I just tried to come to work every day with a positive mindset and be a good teammate. 

“If an opportunity presented itself, I just wanted to be ready. An opportunity came tonight, and I just tried whatever I could to seize the moment.”

Josh Morrissey added a goal and an assist for the Jets (45-24-6), while Sean Monahan also scored. Kyle Connor registered three helpers.

Morrissey's ninth goal of the season came off a feed from Perfetti.

“It was a great dish,” Morrissey said. “(Perfetti) played a great game. Nice to see him using his tools out there and playing with confidence. Great look, and a huge game for us.”

Jets head coach Rick Bowness said Perfetti has been working hard with the coaches. 

“I did tell him, 'Listen, when you get back in, we're going to give you more time with the top six,’” Bowness said. “That's more his game, so he took full advantage of it. Give him credit for that.”

Laurent Brossoit made 25 saves for Winnipeg before a crowd of 13,334 at Canada Life Centre, halting a four-game sellout streak.

Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings (38-25-11). Defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov had two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 28 shot.

“We had a lot of guys who played really hard, I thought,” Kings interim head coach Jim Hiller said. “(The Jets are) a good team, they were desperate. 

“I thought it was a good hockey game both ways. We go down and have a breakaway, they come back and get one. It’s that close.”

The Jets went on the game’s first power play midway through the third period with the score tied 3-3. 

Kings forward Trevor Moore went on a short-handed breakaway, but fired wide of the net. 

The Jets then went the other way and Perfetti fired a low shot past Talbot two seconds after the man advantage expired.

The goal, his 17th of the season, came at 13:05.

Both teams have struggled recently, with Winnipeg going 0-5-1 heading into the match. The Kings have now lost three straight.

L.A. holds the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a three-point cushion on the St. Louis Blues. Winnipeg is third in the Central Division, six points up on the Nashville Predators.

Monday's game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 3-3 heading into the third.

Perfetti flipped in a loose puck at the side of the crease to give the Jets a 1-0 lead 11:14 into the opening frame.

Arvidsson tied the score at 12:30 with a blast from high in the circle.

It was the second goal of the campaign for Arvidsson, who's played just 10 games in an injury-marred season punctuated by back surgery in October and a lower-body injury in late February. 

Fiala got the puck rolling in a four-goal second period when he recorded his 25th goal after spinning quickly and firing the puck past a screened Brossoit at 5:48.

A five-minute span later in the period had fans cheering. 

Monahan evened the score at 2-2 at the 11:49 mark when a pass from Morrissey went in off his skate. 

The Kings broke the tie just over two minutes later with Kopitar’s 26th goal of the season from the slot, but Morrissey made it 3-3 at 16:47. 

“That game was back and forth for us,” Gavrikov said. “Didn’t get the result, obviously. 

“That’s exactly what we’re looking for in the next games and just got to move on. Every single game matters for us, every single point has got to matter.”


Ryan Galloway was recognized for officiating in his final NHL game during a third-period stoppage in play.

Players from both teams tapped their sticks on the ice and fans gave the Winnipeg product a standing ovation as he patted his striped shirt above his heart. 

Galloway, who had family and friends in the stands wearing striped shirts, has worked more than 1,400 games since entering the league in 2002. 


Kings: Host the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. 

Jets: End a five-game homestand Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2024.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

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