Game 34: Kings Lose 4-3(SO), fall to 19-12-3
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Their two-game winning streak has come to an end but their point streak continues as the Los Angeles Kings took the Minnesota Wildto the shootout only to fall short. Even with the regulation point, though, the Kings feel like they should have won this game as officiating was a big question as the referees seemed to favour the home side en route to their victory.
It was the Kings who drew first blood tonight as Dustin Brown, with his team on the man-advantage, wristed his 14th past Niklas Backstrom at the 7:58 mark of the opening period. Minnesota, however, even things up a few minutes later as they capitalized on a rare fourth-line turnover by Los Angeles where Matt Cullen finished off the play by wristing a top-corner shot past Jonathan Quick to even the score.
In the second, the Kings came out strong and their effort paid off as Jeff Carter snapped his 19th past Backstrom (again on the man-advantage) to regain the Kings lead 3:44 into the frame. Then, at the 11:24 mark, Los Angeles struck again as Justin Williams found himself on a partial breakaway with a delayed penalty against Minnesota and the veteran made no mistake potting his sixth past Backstrom to give the road team their first two-goal lead of the night.
The Wild did not give up though as just over two minutes later, rookie Charlie Coyle scored to pull the home team to within a goal.
Soon after the third period started, drama escalated as Slava Voynov was unintentionally high-sticked leaving the young blueliner with a chipped tooth. Had the officials caught that, it could have very well been a double-minor against the Wild. Alas, the referees missed it and play resumed when Jordan Nolan inexplicably ran over Niklas Backstrom leading to an undisciplined interference penalty against Los Angeles. Moments later, Jarret Stoll was called for hooking and just like that, the Kings were down two men.
The Wild onslaught was intense but Jonathan Quick, like he’d been playing for much of the game, was admirable turning away multiple sure goals to keep Los Angeles in the lead. Unfortunately, Quick’s luck didn’t last as Zach Parise capitalized to tie the game and ultimately send the game into overtime and then the shootout.
The shootout was anti-climactic as Quick, who looked great during regulation, was terrible allowing all three shots to get past him. Mike Richards scored but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Wild win their eighth in their last nine outings leaving the Kings somewhat content with the point but disappointed that they couldn’t pull out the win.
Despite allowing three goals each, both goaltenders played outstanding. Both Niklas Backstrom and Jonathan Quick gave their team every chance to win and if it weren’t for them, this could have gotten a lot uglier (assuming you want to call this game ugly). Backstrom made 28 saves while Quick made 25.
Rookie Tyler Toffoli looked good tonight as he generated a few scoring chances and added an assist en route to the loss.
It’s no rest for the Kings though as they travel to Dallas to close out their season series tomorrow against a Stars team they have yet to beat this season. Let’s hope the third time will be the charm.