L.A. Story: Wild beats Kings in OT
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It was noted before the Minnesota Wild's game at Staples Center on Saturday night that the powerful Los Angeles Kings had given up just one power play goal at home all season.
Brent Burns doubled that number a few hours later, scoring on a man-advantage in overtime as the Wild won its second consecutive road game, beating the Kings 3-2.
Having a member of the Kings in the penalty box was a strange situation, as Los Angeles had nine power plays in the game, including a four-minute stretch in the third period. But the Wild killed eight of them, and scored short-handed en route to handing the Kings their first overtime loss of the season.
"Too many penalties we took, and made it difficult on ourselves," Wild coach Todd Richards said to the assembled media. "And the penalties were the stick infractions. Those are the ones that drive you crazy. We just have to be more responsible there."
With points in four straight games now, the Wild is suddenly making a bit of a statement in a four-game western road trip. With an overtime loss in Dallas, a win in Phoenix and an overtime win in Los Angeles, the Wild suddenly looks very little like the bewildered and beaten club that lost seven of eight games at one point in the very recent past.
The Wild grabbed 1-0 and 2-1 leads via two nightmare plays by Kings goalie Jon Quick. With Los Angeles on a first period power play, Quick put a clearing pass right on the tape for Mikko Koivu, who had nothing but net to shoot at for the short-handed goal.
With the game tied 1-1 in the second, Quick missed a puck behind the net, allowing Cal Clutterbuck another empty net to shoot at. Clutterbuck and Burns both scored, and remain tied atop the team's goal scoring list with eight each for the season. The miscues earned Quick a round of hearty Bronx cheers from the Southern California hockey crowd the next few times the goalie handled the puck.
On the defensive side, Greg Zanon blocked a handful of shots, and Jose Theodore made 24 saves, improving to 4-4-1 for the season in goal. The win was payback of sorts for the Wild, which lost 3-2 to the Kings in a shootout in October in St. Paul.
"We battled and obviously Theo made some big saves at key times," Richards said. "We benefited from a couple of miscues by their goaltender."
The Wild, which improved to 3-4 in overtime this season, will take a bus ride to Orange County prior to facing the Anaheim Ducks in the road trip's finale on Sunday evening.