Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice used a joke to ease any panic regarding an injury to Patrik Laine.
Rookie Kyle Connor scored twice as Winnipeg defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night, but it came with a scare. Laine was helped to the dressing room early in the second period with a lower-body injury after blocking shot by defenceman Alec Martinez with his left leg.
“We think he's going to be fine," Maurice said. "We don't think it's anything longterm."
When asked if the sophomore sniper took the shot above his skate, Maurice's response drew chuckles.
"It's a concussion,” he deadpanned.
As for Laine possibly playing in Friday's home game against Anaheim, Maurice also tried to calm any fans' fears with some levity.
“I don't think after the amputation it should be much longer than a month,” he said, then apologized for his choice of words. “That's insensitive to people who are dealing with that.
“We'll see how it comes in but we've already had him looked at in a couple of different ways. There's nothing sinister.”
The injury halted the forward's 15-game points streak (18 goals, eight assists). That was the longest active point streak in the NHL and a league record for a teenager.
Laine had also entered the game tied for the league goal-scoring lead with Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin. But the Capitals star scored his 44th of the season and two assists in a 4-3 win over Dallas on Tuesday night.
“That’s tough,” Connor said of watching Laine leave the ice. “He’s had that streak and he’s playing so good for us.
"I think he’s grown so much as a player, too, and hopefully he’s OK.”
Connor fired the winner low past goalie Jack Campbell at 1:37 of overtime to help the Jets set a franchise record for wins at 44 (44-19-10). Winnipeg had 43 victories in 2014-15 while the Atlanta Thrashers hit the same mark in 2006-07 before the franchise relocated to Manitoba in 2011.
Dustin Brown scored his 23rd goal of the season for Los Angeles (40-27-7) early in the second. The Kings were coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Minnesota on Monday.
Connor tied it at 17:06 of the second when he deflected a Mark Scheifele pass. He's scored 27 goals, putting him second in rookie goal-scoring behind Vancouver Brock Boeser (29).
The game featured a battle between backup goalies, each making their third career start.
Rookie Eric Comrie stopped 16 shots for the Jets for his second career win. He had one start last season (a victory) and picked up a loss against Florida in December.
Jack Campbell made 36 saves for the Kings. The 26-year-old was a first-round pick of Dallas in 2010 (11th overall) and joined the Kings in 2016. His only win in six career games was last month in Las Vegas.
“We can put anybody out there and they always perform really well in overtime,” Campbell said.
“I think (Tyler) Toffoli hit the bar there and he's got such a great shot it could have gone in. It's unfortunate because I thought we controlled overtime. Just got to come up with a save.”
Winnipeg won the season series 2-1.
“There's obviously still room in a bunch of areas we can improve on and play better, but at the end of the day we'll take the point,” said Kopitar, who became the first Kings centre to notch 82 points since Wayne Gretzky in 1993.
The Kings visit Colorado on Thursday.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press