Wild @ Kings Recap: Minnesota Lays Low, Steals Shootout Win

We're running out of ways to phrase the headlines, but long story short, the Kings own the puck but can only score once. The Wild also score once and get the only tally in the shootout.

You've heard this one before. The Los Angeles Kings went down 2-1 at home to the Minnesota Wild, despite controlling the play, winning the shot battle, and oh, come on, let's just get this over with.

[Box Score]

In the first period, LA tried 33 shots to Minnesota's 9. They notched 13 of the final 14 shots on goal in the period, but somehow never really tested Darcy Kuemper. Anze Kopitar scared us all by missing a few shifts, but he was fine. Jonathan Quick ordered a pizza and ate it during the final 15 minutes of the period (probably). The less said about that period, the better; Darryl Sutter wasn't concerned, even if Kings fans were a bit annoyed.

The most frustrating part of a frustrating game? Middle of the second period. In a span of five minutes:

  • A Kings power play with EIGHT shots, forcing a fabulous sequence of pad/glove stops.
  • Dwight King breaks in and hits the post.
  • The frustrated "Go Kings Go!" chant, which only emerges in games like this one.
  • Kuemper, in the process of sliding eight feet from the net, stopping a deflection.
  • A legendary interview-bomb from Ben Scrivens.

As all the chances went begging, our announcers just couldn't take it anymore.

Jim Fox: "Are you worried yet?"

Bob Miller: "YES."

This isn't the first time this season that Jim has talked about how worried he gets when the Kings get a bunch of shots but don't score. In fact, we heard it three days ago when the Kings were in the midst of controlling the Vancouver game. It won't be the last time, either. That's just the way the Kings operate sometimes.

LA got the breakthrough goal 50 seconds into the third period, which most of us hoped would serve as the floodgates opening. After all, when the Kings finally beat Roberto Luongo on Saturday, they got three goals in the third. (Three goals! In one game!) This one came about thanks to Jeff Carter, who patiently wheeled around the net before finding Jarret Stoll with a gorgeous pass across the middle. Stoll waited for Kuemper to slide across, and as he did, he beat him five-hole. Second assist to Dwight King, who started the rush and also was on the ice for a bajillion shots during the game, so he deserved a point.

The Minnesota Wild ruined everything by tying the game shortly after. Nino Niederreiter was also the best Wild (Wildee? Wilder? Wildy?) in the teams' Opening Night matchup, and he beat Drew Doughty to the front of the net to convert a good pass from Jason Pominville. Jonathan Quick tried to go post-to-post but wasn't fast enough; Switzerland+USA > USA, apparently. Minnesota only seriously tested Quick at the end of the second and the end of the third period, but he made some key stops, so it's hard to pin too much blame on him. With LA finally slowing down, the game went to OT, then a shootout.

Niederreiter scored the only goal in the final round of the shootout, forcing Quick into attempting the behind-the-back glove save which never ever works. Before that, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, and Mike (I don't know why Darryl Sutter keeps letting him attempt breakaways) Richards were denied by Kuemper, and the game came to a merciful end. After a world-beating start to the season, LA's struggles to score have placed them comfortably in fifth in the West. And after last season's playoffs, we know that's not exactly the best place to be.