The Minnesota Wild use a big second period to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night.
Minnesota trailed early on in the game, but then scored five unanswered goals to take a commanding lead. In the third period, the Kings mounted a small comeback, but the Wild held on for the two points.
On the young season, the Minnesota Wild are 2-10 while the Los Angeles Kings lose three straight for the second straight year.
Minnesota Wild score two unanswered goals to take first period lead
With just 50 seconds off the clock in the opening period, the Kings opened the scoring. Devin Setoguchi used his strength to win possession along the boards before finding Tanner Pearson on the right. Pearson started his season off on the right foot, scoring on his first shot of the year. He returned from a four-game suspension tonight which began at the end of the preseason.
That lead, though, did not last long. 46 seconds after falling behind, the Minnesota Wild struck. Erik Haula sprinted down the left, getting behind the two Kings defenders. Then, Haula fired a shot that somehow got in between Jeff Zatkoff’s legs to make it 1-1.
Minnesota scored late in the opening period to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Kings’ Alec Martinez gave possession to Haula. Erik Haula fed Jason Pominville with a simple pass and the 33-year-old veteran did the rest, beating Zatkoff for the Wild’s second goal of the first 20 minutes.
Home team dominates second period; score three more
After allowing the opening goal, Minnesota controlled the game, as evident by the goals in the opening 20 minutes of the game. That trend continued throughout the second period.
Two of the three goals Minnesota scored in the second came off of a face off, with the first occurring at 12:38. Zatkoff did well to stop Ryan Suter’s initial shot, but left a big rebound right in front of the net. Charlie Coyle cleaned up the mess and extend his club’s lead to two near the halfway mark of the game.
For the second time in the middle stanza, the Wild punished the Zatkoff by burying a big rebound. Mikael Granlund forced Zatkoff to make a save with his right pad. However, the puck fell straight to Mikku Koivu. The Minnesota Wild captain made no mistake, slamming his shot into the open net.
A goal is a goal, no matter how it is scored. Off of a face off in their offensive zone, the puck found the stick of Jonas Brodin. Brodin rifled a shot from near the blue line through traffic. On the way through, the puck hit Teemu Pulkkinen’s stick and beat Zatkoff for the fifth time that night.
Kings cannot complete comeback in the third
The Kings began to mount a little comeback to begin the third period just as they did in the previous game.
Tom Gilbert threw the puck at the net, which Kuemper stopped. But he left a rebound for Anze Kopitar who slid his shot underneath the Wild netminder to cut the lead to three. A fourth goal was scored, Pearson’s second of the season, but that would be all the Kings’ mustered on the night.
Minnesota wrapped things up late in the contest. As Peter Budaj left his net to give the Kings a man-advantage, Jared Spurgeron cleared the puck down the ice and managed to score an empty net goal.
The Los Angeles Kings continue their road trip in two days when they play the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild remain at home as they welcome in the Toronto Maple Leafs.