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Updated: February 29th, 2012 12:10am
Another 'collective failure' dooms Wild, now NHL's lowest-scoring team

Another 'collective failure' dooms Wild, now NHL's lowest-scoring team

by Marley McMillan
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A day after dealing two more veteran defensemen at the trade deadline, the Minnesota Wild stumbled early on their way to a 4-0 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

The skinny

Justin Williams scored on the first shift, the Wild took two penalties and the Kings continued to put the puck in the net to take a 3-0 lead after the first period.

That's pretty much how the game went.

"This was a collective failure on our part," coach Mike Yeo said.

Said Kyle Brodziak, "We just weren't good enough. You create your own breaks in this game. We didn't create and breaks because we didn't deserve any. We didn't earn any."

The Wild traded Nick Schultz to the Edmonton Oilers for Tom Gilbert and Greg Zanon to the Boston Bruins for Steven Kampfer on Monday.

Gilbert suited up in Tuesday's loss, which kept the Wild in 12th place in the Western Conference, five points out of the last playoff spot.

"No, it's nothing to do with that," Brodziak said of the trades affecting the team's play. "We're all professionals."

Niklas Backstrom -- who saved 11 of 15 total shots -- suggested otherwise.

"Since last summer, I think we traded away our top four 'D'," Backstrom said. "So it's a lot of new things. We have to learn and a lot of new faces there. We have to work to get to know each other. For sure, it's tough now in the middle of the season, playing every second day.

"It's weird to go out there today, I don't know if I played that well without Schultzy. It's tough to go out there, but it's hockey."

Schultz had played all of his nine seasons in the NHL with the Wild.

"I don't think we can blame that game on that, to be honest with you," Yeo said of having new guys on the roster. "There was a break down on one of the goals that's system related, but it really has nothing to do with it."

Yeo referred to the second goal, in which Kings' forward Dwight King was left alone to make a quick redirection on a feed from the slot to beat Backstrom's blocker.

Gilbert, who was on the ice for the second goal, partnered with Justin Falk on the second line of defensemen.

"The first period I was trying to get my feet underneath me," said Gilbert, a Bloomington Jefferson High School and University of Wisconsin alum. "I wish we could have scored a couple more goals, get a win out of this, but it's been a good experience so far."

The Wild outshot the Kings 26-15, but they could not put the puck in the net.

"We had nothing offensively (Tuesday)," Yeo said. "There was too many things missing to even have a sniff offensively (Tuesday): puck support, battle level, going to hard areas, making plays, executing. It's just kind of a long list."

Turning point

Justin Williams scored 44 seconds into the game.

"It was another game where we started on our heels and they took it to us and we didn't fight back," Brodziak said.

Koivu aggravates injury

General Manager Chuck Fletcher revealed on Tuesday that Mikko Koivu has re-aggravated a left shoulder injury. He will not play for at least another two weeks.

The captain has now missed 18 games. His initial injury came on a check by Vladmir Sobotka of the Blues on Jan. 14 in St. Louis.

Numbers game

• 400: Games played by Brodziak for the Wild. He is one of six players to reach the milestone and he recently signed a three-year extension with the organization.
• 743: Games played by Schultz for the Wild, a franchise record.
• 77: Gilbert's jersey number.
• 133: Lowest number of goals in the NHL, held by the Wild. The Kings surpassed them and now have 134.
• 1st: Shutout loss for the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center this season.

Health watch

• Koivu (left shoulder) will not play for at least two more weeks.
Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mike Lundin (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) are all on injured reserve.


First period

Kings - Justin Williams (S. Voynov, D. Brown), 0:44 EV.
Kings - Dwight King (A. Kopitar, J. Williams), 9:39 EV.
Kings - Anze Kopitar (D. Brown, M. Greene), 18:38 EV.

Second period

Kings - Alec Martinez (C. Fraser, M. Greene), 15:01 EV.

Third period


Shots: Wild 10-10-6-26; Kings 8-5-2-15. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (11-15); Kings, (26-26). Power plays: Wild 0-for-3, Kings 0-for-3.

Three stars

1. Jonathan Bernier
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Matt Cullen

Coming up

The Wild will visit our northern neighbor in a battle against the Montreal Canadiens at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens rank last in the Eastern Conference with 58 points. They they traded left wing Andrei Kostitsyn at the deadline to the Nashville Predators for a second-round draft pick in 2013 and the conditional fifth-round choice in 2013 that Montreal previously dealt for Hal Gill.