Wild cruise past defenseless Kings
SAINT PAUL, Minn.--The Los Angeles Kings, who lost star goaltender Jonathan Quick to an injury in the season opener, are off to a nightmare start. The Minnesota Wild blasted past the still-winless Kings 6-3 Tuesday, scoring five times on their fi...
SAINT PAUL, Minn.-The Los Angeles Kings, who lost star goaltender Jonathan Quick to an injury in the season opener, are off to a nightmare start.
The Minnesota Wild blasted past the still-winless Kings 6-3 Tuesday, scoring five times on their first 15 shots as Los Angeles looked overmatched defensively.
Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Charlie Coyle, Mikko Koivu and Teemu Pulkkinen scored for Minnesota (2-1-0). Defenseman Jared Spurgeon added a 190-foot empty-net goal with 2:18 to play to cap the scoring.
Los Angeles (0-3-0) got two goals from Tanner Pearson-one of them in the opening minute of the game. Not much went right after that, until late goals from Anze Kopitar and another from Pearson got Los Angeles back within a pair before the Minnesota empty-net goal.
Kings starting goalie Jeff Zatkoff had just 11 saves on 16 shots in the first two periods. He was pulled in favor of Peter Budaj, who made nine third-period saves.
They form the goalie tandem that is being called on to hold the fort after Quick, who backstopped the Kings to Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014, went down last week. Quick is out indefinitely with a groin injury.
Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 of 30 shots.
Trailing 5-1 in the third, Kopitar whacked a loose puck under Kuemper's left leg pad to pull Los Angeles back within three, and Pearson got his second of the game, but it was not enough.
The Kings buzzed around Kuemper right from the start, and they needed less than a minute to take a 1-0 lead on their second shot of the game. From the blue line, with a crowd between him and the net, Pearson popped a seeing-eye shot through traffic that eluded Kuemper's late attempt at a glove save. It was the first goal of the season for Pearson, who was scratched in the Kings' first two games.
Not to be out-done, the Wild scored on their first shot of the game just 46 seconds later. Haula's low blast from the top of the left circle slid between Zatkoff's knees for a quick 1-1 tie. It was also the first goal of the season for Haula.
The shots kept coming in both directions, with the Kings hitting a trio of pipes, and Zatkoff using a sliding pad save to thwart Haula on a breakaway. Minnesota killed a pair of penalties and looked to head to the dressing room tied before Pominville took a pass from Haula and ripped a wrist shot from long range that beat Zatkoff's glove in the closing seconds of the first.
Minnesota ran into penalty trouble again in the second period, getting whistled for back-to-back infractions that had Los Angeles on a five-on-three advantage for nearly a minute. The Wild killed it off, then pulled away with a power-play goal by Coyle and even-strength goals from Koivu and Pulkkinen for a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes.
NOTES: Injured Kings RW Marian Gaborik last played for Minnesota in 2009, but he remains the Wild's franchise leader in goals (219) and is second in points (437). He was the Wild's first-ever draft pick in 2000, taken third overall. He is currently out of Los Angeles' lineup due to a foot injury sustained while skating for Slovakia in the World Cup last month. ... Kings D Matt Greene was a healthy scratch, was replaced by Tom Gilbert on the blue line for the first time this season. Gilbert, who signed with Los Angeles in the offseason, is a Minnesota native who played 63 games for theWild between 2011 and 2013. ... The Kings, who are traveling outside California for the first time this season, visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The Wild close out a three-game homestand Thursday when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to Minnesota for the only time this season.