LA Kings vs. Wild: Penalties and mistakes lead to 4-3 OT loss

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Kings played their first meaningful game in 309 days. Here’s how the 2021 season opener went against the Minnesota Wild.

LA Kings hockey is back! For the first time in just under a calendar year, the Los Angeles Kings played in a meaningful hockey game on Thursday night, kicking off the 2021 season.

1st Period

Notes: The LA Kings looked like they hadn’t played a game in over 300 days in the early goings of this game. Minnesota looked a bit sloppy as well, as the two teams combined for just four shots on goal well beyond halfway through the first period.

Minnesota was able to get on the board first with Kirill Kaprizov cutting through the slot, losing the puck in the process, but it went right to Jonas Brodin who fired the puck past Jonathan Quick. It looked like the Kings were going to head to the intermission down 1-0, but an icing with 4.4 seconds left in the first period created an offensive zone faceoff.

Kopitar won the faceoff, sending a shot toward the Wild net while falling down. The puck bounced off Cam Talbot where Jeff Carter buried it just before the buzzer.

2nd Period

The Wild’s fourth powerplay of the period.

The Wild’s fifth powerplay of the second period with 1:30 left.

Notes: Despite a sloppy first period, the puck at least moved. The second period was chalked full of penalties on both sides. The Kings were able to grab a 2-1 lead, with Jeff Carter carrying the puck through the neutral zone and Andreas Athanasiou speeding down the middle and crashing the net. Carter fired a shot toward Talbot from the right side, where Athanasiou buried the rebound into the net for his first LA Kings goal.

Then, with just under three minutes in the period, Kopitar fed Iafallo in the slot for a tip-in that went wide. Dustin Brown collected the puck for a wraparound shot — potentially hitting Kempe’s stick on the way — but went off a Wild skate and into the net to extend the LA Kings lead. The goal was later credited to Brown for his 300th career goal.

3rd Period

If the Kings end up losing this game, penalties will be the primary storyline.