The Los Angeles Kings lost to the Minnesota Wild, 3–2, in a game that meant a lot to both. With the playoffs just weeks away, teams are clamping down in order to not only get good position in the playoffs, but to get into the playoffs themselves. The Kings need four points to clinch a playoff berth while Minnesota needed two to secure a wildcard spot in the playoffs, so the importance of this game was big for both teams.
Los Angeles had the pressure on Minnesota early as they spent considerable time in their attacking zone. It resulted in Alec Martinez getting his 11th goal of the season on a charging shot to the net. Not only did this put the Kings up 1-0, but made Martinez the highest scoring Kings player in March with seven.
There was also some great hits in this game, specifically from defenseman Jake Muzzin.
— Kings Vision (@KingsVision) April 1, 2014
LA had continued to put pressure on the Wild to end the first, but the closest they could get was a Jeff Carter miss on an open net in front Minnesota golaie Ilya Bryzgalov.
In the second period, there was a lot more of Minnesota as they were aggressive in their attacking zone, disallowing the Kings to gain control or any sustained possession. There was also some sloppiness that setback LA. Tanner Pearson got called for hooking on Jonas Brodin which Minnesota capitalized on. During the ensuing power play, Zach Parise tied the game for the Wild, 1-1.
Minnesota had total control of the period, until…
Just passed the halfway point in the second period, the Kings managed to get organized. In the middle of traffic, Marion Gaborik used his superpower-like vision to see an open Justin Williams on Bryzgalov’s right side. The one-timer was too quick for the Wild goalie and made it 2-1 in favor of the Kings. Once again the Gaborik-Williams-Anze Kopitar line was able to consistently get an offensive attack going. That is good news for the upcoming playoffs.
What is not good news is the defensive lapse to end the game.
Minnesota came alive in the third as Matt Moulson and Miku Koivu scored 62 seconds apart to tie and go up on the Kings, 3-2.
Another moment of controversy went against LA as Bryzgalov had sent the puck over the glass whilst trying to clear it. The penalty was missed by the referees and a few seconds later, Minnesota scored their third goal. Cie la vie.
The Kings needed to do something to get back into this game. Unfortunately, it did not come until a minute left in the game. LA capitalized on the pressure with a flurry of shots when they pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but it lead to nothing and was not meant to be. Minnesota stays alive in the playoff hunt and LA is to look for a playoff berth at another time.
Interesting side note. Minnesota had to sign a 43-year old goalie to an emergency contract after a rash off injuries has plagued the Wild netminders. Despite getting two points in this game, Minnesota dressing their seventh goalie of the season does not bode well for their playoff hopes.
Tags: Los Angeles Kings