The Minnesota Wild was blown out from the drop of the puck in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Defensive mistakes were common for the Wild.
The Wild failed to pick up Kings in front of the net on the second, third and fourth goals.
The only goal the Wild gave up that was not a complete breakdown was the first goal.
It came on the Kings’ first shot of the game when Slava Voynov slapped a shot toward the goal, but it Justin Williams near the waist at the top of the circle and bound between Niklas Backstrom’s legs.
From there Backstrom saw few shots and had no chance on the final three goals.
Dwight King scored his second goal of the season when he redirected a pass from Anze Kopitar past Backstrom. Tom Gilbert left King all alone in front of the net when he thought Justin Falk was going to pass him the puck. Instead, Falk tried to curl back and stripped of the puck Dustin Brown. Brown finished the game with two assists.
Kopitar benefitted from another Wild breakdown by Falk on the Kings’ third goal. He skated around the Wild defenseman and had a clear path to the crease behind Backstrom. Brown fed a pass to the front of the net where Kopitar only had to avoid running into the goal.
Jordan Nolan capped the scoring late in the second period by whacking a loose puck between the legs of Backstrom. Erik Christensen was unable to keep Nolan from getting his stick on the puck.
The Kings (29-23-12) entered the game as the worst scoring team in the National Hockey League and the worst in the first period.
One of the Wild’s best scoring chances came in the third period, but as Marco Scandella started the rush up the ice he received a hard check from Nolan. Scandella got up and challenged Nolan. After coming together and the Wild on the attack, the two squared off in Scandella’s first NHL fight. Scandella’s decision not to back away, left Wild personnel upset.
There is a time to fight and that was not it.
The Wild (28-26-9) are now five points out of eighth place in the Western Conference and behind four teams.
It is time to get the guys that will not part of the long-term plans off the ice.
The Wild has some young guys with the Houston Aeros that deserve a chance to prove they can play in the NHL.
No. 3 – Jonathan Bernier. The Kings goaltender stopped all 26 shots he faced.
No. 2 – Anze Kopitar. The Kings forward scored a goal and had an assist.
No. 1 – Justin Williams. The Kings forward scored a goal and had an assist.
Los Angeles 3 1 0 – 4
Minnesota 0 0 0 – 0
First Period – 1, Los Angeles, Williams 13 (Voynov, Brown), :44. 2, Los Angeles, King 2 (Kopitar, Williams), 9:39. 3, Los Angeles, Kopitar 18 (Brown, Greene), 18:38. Penalties – Gilbert, Min (holding), 4:59; Foster, Min (hooking), 13:39.
Second Period – 4, Los Angeles, Nolan 2 (Martinez, Fraser), 15:01. Penalties – King, LA (high sticking), 9:17; Voynov, LA (tripping), 17:44; Peters, Min (diving), 17:44.
Third Period – None. Penalties – Nolan, LA, major (fighting), 2:37; Scandella, Min, major (fighting), 2:37; Clutterbuck, Min (roughing), 4:40; Richards, LA (hooking), 12:05; Williams, LA (slashing), 16:35.
Shots on goal – Los Angeles 8-5-2 15. Minnesota 10-10-6 26.
Goalies – Los Angeles, Bernier (26-26). Minnesota, Backstrom (11-15). A – 17,317. Referees – Eric Furlatt, Tom Kowal. Linesmen – Steve Barton, Brian Mach.