Kings blow three-goal lead, complicate playoff hopes in loss to Wild
Kirill Kaprizov tied a franchise record with his 42nd goal, and Mats Zuccarello, Marcus Foligno and Nick Bjugstad also scored as Minnesota ended a two-game slide and improved to 10-1-2 in its last 13 games. The Wild are also 8-0-1 in their last nine home contests.
Eleven players had points for Minnesota, which had its first three-goal comeback win of the season. The Wild are in a second-place tie with St. Louis in the Central Division with a game in hand.
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“We just stuck with the game plan,“ said Jake Middleton, who had two assists. “I’ve mentioned every time I get up here how it’s cliche to say, but every cliche is kind of what wins you hockey games in the second half of the year and going into playoffs. And that’s what we did.”
Rasmus Kupari, Carl Grundstrom and Adrian Kempe scored for struggling Los Angeles, which allowed six unanswered goals and tied a season high with its third straight loss and is 2-4-1 in its past seven. The Kings are four points behind Edmonton for second in the Pacific Division and two up on fourth-place Vegas. The Oilers and Golden Knights have each played one less game.
“They’re good teams. They’re fighting for playoffs, too,” Kings center Phillip Danault said. “We’ve got to regroup here and make sure we’re ready for the next game, and we can’t put our heads down too much. It’s hard enough, but we’ve got to find ways.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for Minnesota, including stopping the final 29 shots he faced.
“The team that we have, I always have confidence that we can comeback in games, and we did tonight,” said Fleury, a trade deadline acquisition who is 4-1-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in five starts with the Wild.
Tied at 3-3 midway through the second period, Zuccarello scored off a faceoff and Foligno redirected a shot from Jordie Benn behind Cal Petersen for a 5-3 lead. Bjugstad scored on a rebound early in the third for the Wild’s sixth straight goal.
It was a result few likely saw coming after a dominating start by the Kings.
Kupari scored a short-handed goal, Grundstrom had an even-strength score and Kempe made it 3-0 on the power play in the opening 11 minutes.
“You score a shorty to start with, and you get one on the power play five seconds in, there’s probably not a lot of games that teams are losing in the National Hockey League when that happens,“ Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “But when you don’t check well, you don’t break out well and you’re not good around your net, when your details erode, a team like Minnesota and some of the upper-echelon teams can punish you, and they did that.”
Minnesota answered twice late in the period and once early in the second to even the game.
A centering pass by Kaprizov deflected off the stick of defenseman Olli Maatta for a power-play goal, and a one-timer by Boldy found the net 50 seconds later. Spurgeon scored early in the second.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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