The second line of the Winnipeg Jets deserved top billing Friday night as they spurred the team to a 5-3 win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings.
Devin Setoguchi had two and linemate Evander Kane another as the Jets found their legs in the second period, after being swarmed by the Kings in the first.
The line clicked so smoothly it was fitting that even the officials couldn't tell who scored, giving Kane credit for a goal they switched to Setoguchi after the game ended.
"That was a lucky one," said Setoguchi, describing the shot by Kane that glanced off his stick.
He teamed with Kane for his second goal as well.
"It was nice to get the other one on the wraparound but the main thing is we won the game."
Kane even took a five-minute penalty for fighting in a very physical game and wasn't apologizing.
"You need to let them know you're not going to be run out of your own building," he said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of sticking up for each other."
Olli Jokinen and Bryan Little also scored for the Jets (2-0-0). Blake Wheeler had a goal called back in the second because the net was off its moorings.
Matt Greene, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored for the Kings (1-1-0), who outshot the Jets 18-7 in the first, with goalie Ondrej Pavelec keeping Winnipeg alive.
The Jets went into the game saying it would be a good test. The Kings are one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference, where the Jets are playing this season.
Despite the slow start, the Jets were leading 4-1 in the third when the Kings got back some of the fire they had in the first period.
They brought the game within one with two quick power-play goals, before Little scored into an empty net.
"We have a way of making games exciting," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "It's not something we want to get in a habit of doing."
But he saw things he liked, besides the two points.
"We had some good games from a lot of people," he said. "We started off slow again and I thought the game changed a little bit in in the second period and the third period. I thought we were quite a bit better. I thought we did some simple things."
One of those was getting shots off, which didn't happen in the first, and not turning over the puck in the neutral zone.
Coach Darryl Sutter wasn't in a mood to provide much analysis but denied they were tired after two games in two nights. They beat the Minnesota Wild in a shootout Thursday.
"It was a pretty close game wasn't it?" he said.
Added Kings' left-winger Dwight King: "We wanted to have a good start, I think we got out to a good start, obviously we got a lot of pucks on the net. It kind of fell off a bit and they took advantage … We tried to fight back at the end but it wasn't enough."
Failing to control the puck in their own zone cost both the Jets and Kings in the first period, although the Kings put on most of the pressure.
Greene was first to score, glancing one off Dustin Byfuglien after intercepting Byfuglien's failed attempt to clear the puck from in front of the net.
But then Kane tied it up by dumping it in from the other side of the blue-line, catching it on the rebound off Greene and sending it high past Jonathan Quick's glove.
Setoguchi's linemate Mark Scheifele picked up an assist, while Setoguchi also set up a goal. The line accounted for most of the pressure and scoring chances the Jets created in the first period.
It was the Jets who came on strong in the second.
Wheeler scored what could have been the go-ahead goal on a power play, except that the L.A. net was off its moorings. It took a call to Toronto by the officials but the goal was disallowed.
Instead, it was Jokinen who put the Jets ahead at 12:54 of the second when he lifted Michael Frolik's rebound high to the right side of the net as Quick went low to the left.
Noel juggled his third line Friday night, putting Jokinen between Eric Tangradi and Frolik, who scored a pair in the Jets opener in Edmonton.
He liked what he saw but said he doesn't know yet how long they will stay together.
Setoguchi scored his first on a power play at 2:21 of the third period on a shot from Kane. He attacked again at 5:19 to make it 4-1 when Quick managed to stop Kane's rush and Setoguchi swept behind the net and stuffed it in the other side.
Sutter put Ben Scrivens in net.
Carter scored the Kings' second goal of the night at 11:01 of the third, a few seconds into a power play from a tripping penalty called against Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba.
The Jets were ahead on shots until the last seven minutes of the third when the Kings found new life after Carter's goal.
Williams brought the Kings within one on the power play at 15:44 when he caught the left corner of the Jets' net from the faceoff circle but Little sealed the win with a breakaway into an empty net with 47 seconds left.