Desperate Wild take down Kings
The Wild (25-18-3) shuffled the roster, lineup and held a meeting Friday as team suffered through five straight home losses and had its spot in the playoffs loosened.
Coyle got the scoring started with a tap-in backdoor, one-timer off a tight-window, saucer pass from Zach Parise.
"I don't think there was any (room of error on Parise's pass)," Coyle said. "I was just trying to find open space and I didn't know if was going to put it there in the tight little space He saucered it right on my stick. All I had to do was directed it in."
The Wild were starting to build momentum before the first line struck.
"Physicality started it," Yeo said. "We are at our best when we are going in straight lines."
Clutterbuck gave the Wild its two-goal lead off a two-on-one rush. The Wild's resident hitter was moved up from the fourth to second line as part of the lineup shuffle.
"It's nice to contribute that way, obviously," Clutterbuck said. "We want to win games. You need to score goals to win games. I was able to score one tonight."
He picked the short-side top corner and hit it with Matt Cullen streaking down the slot. Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier had no chance when he dropped into the butterfly.
"I wish I could remember what was going through my head," Clutterbuck said when asked if he was thinking shot all the way. "I just kind of closed my eyes."
Niklas Backstrom preserved the one-goal victory with a sprawling save off a shot from Slava Voynov with 12 seconds remaining in the game.
Prior to Backstrom's late game heroics, Jeff Carter spoiled the shutout bid with a rifle shot into the top left corner of the net with 0.8 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Wild were frustrated with the officiating late in the second period when Kings captain Dustin Brown hit Jason Pominville with an elbow to face. The Wild forward went down hard. He skated to the Wild's bench under his own power and went to the locker room. He did not return and Yeo did not have an update yet after the game.
The Kings (26-15-5) were not very talkative on the play, only Brown saying that he had not seen the hit.
The Wild are now three points away from clinching a spot in the Western Conference's top eight with two games to play.
No. 3 – Charlie Coyle. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Niklas Backstrom. The Wild goaltender stopped 21 shots.
No. 1 – Cal Clutterbuck. The Wild forward was physical and scored a goal.
Los Angeles…..0 1 0 – 1
Minnesota…….2 0 0 – 2
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Coyle 8 (Parise, Gilbert), 16:21. 2, Minnesota, Clutterbuck 4 (Setoguchi, Brodin), 16:37. Penalties – Koivu, Min (tripping), 3:33; Nolan, LA (charging), 18:21.
Second Period – 3, Los Angeles, Carter 26 (Richardson), 19:59. Penalties – None.
Third Period – None. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Los Angeles 5-6-12 23. Minnesota 13-9-3 25.
Goalies – Los Angeles, Bernier (23-25). Minnesota, Backstrom (22-23). A – 18,825. Referees – Dan O'Rourke, Don VanMassenhoven. Linesmen – Thor Nelson, Vaughan Rody.