Kopitar, Carter lift Kings over Wild 3-2 in SO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings relied too much on their goalie, but Jonathan Quick was up to the task against the Minnesota Wild.

Quick made 27 saves, and Anze Kopitar
and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals for the Kings, who rallied to beat
the Wild 3-2 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

Carter and Drew Doughty scored
regulation goals for Los Angeles, which had just 18 shots. Quick stopped
Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu in the shootout.

“He was huge,” Kopitar said. “Over the
course of the past three or four years we’ve gotten pretty familiar with
his play. He’s always been back there holding strong for us, and
tonight was no different.

“He held us in there and we found a way to score a goal at the end of the game, and finished it off in the shootout.”

Matt Cooke and Jonas Brodin scored in
regulation for Minnesota, which had never lost a home opener in its
first 12 seasons (11-0-1).

After Quick stopped Parise to begin the
shootout, Kopitar made a deke on Niklas Backstrom to score for the
Kings. Quick then poked the puck away from Koivu on Minnesota’s second
attempt before Carter beat Backstrom with a backhand to complete the
comeback.

With the Kings trailing 2-1, Carter scored on a rebound of a shot by Matt Frattin at 13:14 of the third period to tie it.

“We had two periods where it felt like
we were in our D zone the whole time,” Doughty said. “That takes a toll
on you. We were tired but the boys didn’t give up in the third. We kept
taking it to them and trying to get more chances.”

A fashionable pick to win the Pacific
Division and go deep into the playoffs, Los Angeles made relatively few
offseason changes to its roster. The Kings stayed with the core that
helped them advance to the Western Conference finals last spring and win
the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Quick is a key part of that nucleus.

He had to be at the top of his game as
the Wild had little resistance much of the night when they crashed the
net looking for rebounds. Quick made 13 of his saves in the second
period, including a glove stop to rob Parise on a power play.

“We don’t ever come into a game
thinking we have Quick back there,” Doughty said. “We know that in the
back of our heads, but we want him to have the least amount of work
possible. We gave him too much work.”

Despite the loss, Minnesota players took a positive look at their performance.

“They were a little bit better getting
out of their end. They had a few more chances. In the end, I think we
deserved two points,” defenseman Keith Ballard said. “With the shootout,
that happens. We played a pretty solid hockey game.

“If we keep replicating that game over and over again, I think we’ll be all right this year.”

Minnesota got on the board just 64
seconds into the game when a centering pass from Kyle Brodziak deflected
off Cooke’s skate in the crease and past Quick. After a video review,
it was determined there was no kicking motion.

Doughty tied it with a power-play goal
at 7:40 of the first period with a one-timer from the top of the left
circle that clanked off the far post and went in.

Minnesota got its own power-play goal 10 minutes later to go up 2-1.

Nino Niederreiter corralled a loose
puck near the right boards and cut to the middle before backhanding a
pass to Brodin, who was coming down the slot. His quick shot beat Quick
high on the glove side. The defenseman had just two goals last season.

But the Wild couldn’t muster any more offense.

“You know that that next goal is
important,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “You know that extending that lead
makes a huge difference and not giving them hope. At the same time we
were playing pretty strong.

“It didn’t work out in our favor tonight, but playing like that you should have the confidence to bring it home.”

NOTES:
Minnesota RW Jason Pominville signed a five-year, $28 million contract
extension. … Kings D Willie Mitchell played his first game in more
than 15 months. He missed last season following two knee operations. …
This was the Kings’ only appearance in Minnesota this season. The teams
are scheduled to meet Jan. 7 and March 31 in Los Angeles. … Los
Angeles will play at Winnipeg on Friday. Minnesota will host Anaheim on
Saturday.