Josh Harding overwhelmed as Wild lose ugly in Los Angeles
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Everyone comes to Hollywood with a dream. On Saturday the Minnesota Wild said goodbye to Hollywood after what amounted to a hockey nightmare. The Los Angeles Kings battered and beat the Wild 5-2, extending Minnesota's losing streak to two games with an ugly night at Staples Center.
When even the opponent's tough guys get in on the scoring act, you know you're having a bad night. Such was the case in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, when even enforcer Matt Greene put a puck into the Wild net, as the Kings kept the local hockey club winless in California this season.
A close game fell apart in the second as Wild starting goalie Josh Harding was torched for a trio of goals, while at the other end of the ice, Kings netminder Jonathan Quick was having a sleepy night. After Simon Gagne scored to make it 4-0, Wild coach Mike Yeo yanked Harding and gave Niklas Backstrom a chance to right the ship.
Backstrom allowed a shot through traffic by Greene, the former North Dakota star, but shut the Kings down for the rest of the game.
The Wild finally gave Quick some sustained work in the third period, and got goals from Cal Clutterbuck and Darroll Powe, but would get no closer.
As has been a recurring theme on this road trip, the Wild spent plenty of time in the penalty box, especially in the first period on Saturday, denying the visitors much chance to create or sustain momentum.
This marks the first time this season that the Wild have lost consecutive games in regulation.
The Wild seemingly survived the early goal from the Kings, and played fundamental hockey for much of the first period. The real trouble began when Warren Peters rode Alec Martinez into the boards, and somehow drew a five-minute major penalty for boarding. Early in the second period, the Kings scored to lead 2-0 on the ensuing extended power play and the rout was well underway.
• 1,000: Career games for Kings coach Terry Murray.
• 61, 38: Respective ages of Murray and Wild coach Mike Yeo, making them the oldest and youngest active coaches in the NHL.
• 4: Even-strength goals allowed by the Wild on Saturday, after they had given up just seven, total, in their first seven road games.
• 700: Career points for Dany Heatley, after he assisted on the Wild's first/only goal.
Injuries are mounting for the Wild. Guillaume Latandresse left the game in San Jose early and is now out indefinitely with a concussion. Marco Scandella also missed time Saturday with an unidentified injury. Josh Harding took a hard shot off the right elbow in the second period and was visited by a trainer, but stayed in the game for a little while longer, before being chased later in the period.
Kings - Colin Fraser 1 (Moreau, Lewis), 2:49
Kings - Alec Martinez 2 (Williams, Gagne), 2:00, PPG
Kings - Dustin Brown 4 (Johnson), 6:49
Kings - Simon Gagne 6 (Kopitar, Williams), 11:44
Kings - Matt Greene 1 (Hunter, Stoll), 14:13
Wild - Cal Clutterbuck 3 (Koivu, Heatley), 0:47, PPG
Wild - Darroll Powe 2 (Zidlicky, Prosser), 12:23
1. Dustin Brown, 2. Alec Martinez, 3. Colin Fraser
After and ugly loss, the Wild are going to Disneyland! Well, not Disneyland exactly, but they'll be in that neighborhood on Sunday, concluding the California portion of this road trip with a game versus the Anaheim Ducks.