Some nights are more than just about an outcome. Tonight was one of those evenings in Downtown Los Angeles. Emotions were at their highest levels night both teams united in a moment of silence to honor the 12 people killed in the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks. The Wild and the Kings held placards that read simply, “ENOUGH.” Helmet stickers echoed the powerful message.
“Waking up this morning to that [news], it makes you think about life a little bit differently,” Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “I look over and I see my wife, it just makes you appreciate every day. Just like that, something terrible can happen. It’s heartbreaking for the families and everyone affected.”
The Minnesota Wild, winners of eight of their last 10, survived a furious Kings start and a goal of the year candidate from Muzzin as Zach Parise tallied his 700th NHL point with a goal and an assist, powering the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 victory on Thursday night.
Under interim head coach Willie Desjardins, the Kings has returned to the team Los Angeles fans have grown accustomed to watching the last eight years. Their effort tonight wasn’t lost on long-time rival coach Bruce Boudreau, “I thought the last 50 minutes were really good. I thought the first ten minutes we were scrambling, letting them play and we were watching them. The LA Kings play really hard. I’ve played them as much as anybody here. They were playing hard again tonight.”
The Kings were looking first three-game winning streak of the season, but couldn’t hold the lead as Nino Niederreiter evened up the score at 14:23 of the first period on the power play and then Parise put the Wild ahead 2-1 at 14:42 of the second period. Parise became the fifth NHL Minnesota-born player with 700 points (887 career games).
Once the Wild gained the lead, Devan Dubnyk shut the door the rest of the way making 27 saves while surviving a Kings power play with 1:54 remaining before Mikael Granlund put the game on ice with an empty-net goal at 19:57.
”They have a stingy defense,” Desjardins said after the game. “We definitely passed up some chances to shoot. There were some shots there, if we put it to the net, maybe we could have gotten some traffic and some rebounds. We didn’t capitalize on our power plays.”
The Kings ended their Staples Center sellout streak at 297. The last game that failed to sell out was against Florida on December 1, 2011. With the loss, the Kings fall to 4-9-1 on the season and are last in the league standings.
NEXT: The Kings play the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
GAME NOTES: Stars of the Game: First – Parise, Second – Muzzin, Third – Mikko Koivu… Scratches; Wild - RW Matt Read, D Nate Prosser and C Matt Hendricks, Kings - D Paul LaDue and C Michael Amadio… Jack Campbell stopped 21 shots… Ilya Kolvachuk was held without a point for the first time in four games and is scoreless in both games against the Wild… Parise’s 339 career goals are the most among active American-born players… Wild C Eric Staal returned to the lineup sitting out Tuesday’s game against San Jose because of illness… The Kings fell to 29-21-14 all-time against Minnesota… The Kings are 0-9-0 when trailing after the second period.