Wild
Kings
1 - 3 Final
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Kings extend low-scoring Wild's woes

Dec 14, 2008 - 1:53 AM
By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Up against a stifling defense, the Los Angeles Kings figured scoring chances would be limited. But the opportunities were presented, and they made the most of them.

Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus scored power-play goals, Erik Ersberg stopped 33 shots and the Kings skated to a 3-1 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Wild, who have lost four in a row.

Alexander Frolov scored an empty-netter and captain Dustin Brown recorded a pair of assists as the Kings posted their first win in nine tries against the Wild.

"I think we've really got a shot attitude," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "If we've got a really good shot coming from the point like we do, then it's going to spread things out and make penalty-killers respect the down-low play a bit less, and that's how we can really open it up with guys like Kopitar and Brown."

Los Angeles entered the game with an 0-7-1 mark against Minnesota over the previous two seasons.

"I don't think we expected to come out against this team and get (over) 40 shots. They're the team that has given up the fewest goals in the NHL," Kings coach Terry Murray said of his team, which outshot the Wild, 43-34. "But it was important for us to come out and play our game. Coming off the St. Louis game (on Thursday), we had a little momentum, and we wanted to build on it."

Ersberg, who has been splitting time in the net with Jason LaBarbera, narrowly missed recording his first shutout of the season. He made nine saves in the first period, eight in the second and 16 in the third.

"Ersberg was great," Murray said. "He was focused, he killed a lot of pucks that came to him. That's the kind of confident player you like to see, and that's the player I heard about before training camp that could really absorb a lot of pucks and settle things down with that kind of effort. Good to see it."

The Swede's lone blemish came with less than two minutes remaining, when Wild defenseman Brent Burns cashed in on a power-play opportunity for his fifth goal of the season.

"It's always nice to get a shutout, obviously," Ersberg said. "But as long as we win, I don't really care too much about it."

Kopitar continues to supply the offense for the Kings, having recorded five goals and two assists over his last five games.

Niklas Backstrom made 40 saves in a losing effort for the Wild, who have dropped four straight in regulation for first time since November 20-28, 2003. They have struggled offensively during the slide, tallying just three goals while going a combined 1-for-9 on the power play.

"I think we only had a couple of chances to score," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "That's not enough, that's not good effort.

"The guys practiced well and they had good energy, and then the game comes the next day and there's nothing. It wasn't a good game. We didn't play good enough against a team who really worked hard."

The Wild, who entered as the league's second-most efficient penalty-killing unit at 89.2 percent, were burned for a pair of man-advantage goals.

"We've been down two goals the last couple of games," Minnesota's Stephane Veilleux said. "And we feel under pressure and play desperately, when we shouldn't."

Late in the first, Los Angeles took advantage just 37 seconds into a power play to grab a 1-0 lead. Following an interference call on defenseman Marek Zidlicky, Kopitar gathered a loose puck and buried it with 4:52 remaining for his 10th tally of the campaign.

The Kings doubled the advantage early in the third with one second left on Zidlicky's holding penalty. Greene unleashed a shot from the blue line that was deflected in traffic by Wayne Simmonds to Handzus, who beat Backstrom at 2:58.

Handzus' goal was his seventh of the campaign. He had seven all of last season while playing 82 games.

Burns halved the deficit with 1:53 remaining in the contest, but Frolov sealed the victory with his team-leading 13th goal with 26 seconds to go.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0 1 1
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) ANZE KOPITAR 10 (DUSTIN BROWN, PATRICK
    O'SULLIVAN) 15:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAL HANDZUS 7 (ALEXANDER FROLOV, MATT GREENE)
    2:58
    MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 5 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    1

    Dec 13 6:34 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    LOS ANGELES 3
    3RD PRD: LOS - (EN) ALEXANDER FROLOV 13 (DUSTIN BROWN, DREW DOUGHTY)
    19:34

    Wild 1, Kings 3  3rd - 0:26Dec 13 6:30 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 15 roots

    Wild 1, Kings 3  3rd - 0:26Dec 13 6:30 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    LOS ANGELES 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) MAREK ZIDLICKY 5 (ERIC BELANGER) 18:07

    Wild 1, Kings 2  3rd - 1:53Dec 13 6:28 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild 1, Kings 2  3rd - 1:53Dec 13 6:28 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    LOS ANGELES 2
    3RD PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAL HANDZUS 7 (ALEXANDER FROLOV, MATT GREENE)
    2:58

    Wild 0, Kings 2  3rd - 17:02Dec 13 6:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) ANZE KOPITAR 10 (DUSTIN BROWN, PATRICK
    O'SULLIVAN) 15:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 9 8 17
    LOS 14 17 31
    GOALI

    Dec 13 5:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) ANZE KOPITAR 10 (DUSTIN BROWN, PATRICK
    O'SULLIVAN) 15:08
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 9 9
    LOS 14 14
    GOALIES: MIN - NIKL

    Dec 13 4:42 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    LOS ANGELES 1
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) ANZE KOPITAR 10 (DUSTIN BROWN, PATRICK O'SULLIVAN)
    15:08

    Wild 0, Kings 1  1st - 4:52Dec 13 4:35 PM