Kopitar’s OT goal gives Kings 2-1 win over Wild
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Kings had to work overtime to get their first victory of the season.
Anze Kopitar scored 2:19 into overtime, Tyler Toffoli connected on a power play in the second period and the Kings beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Friday night.
The Kings, who last season became the eighth team in NHL history to miss the playoffs a year after winning the Stanley Cup, were in danger of starting a season 0-4 for the first time. Their longest winless streak from the start of a season was nine games in 1984-85 (0-6 with three ties).
”It’s definitely a big step for us,” center Jeff Carter said. ”The first three games were pretty much a wash for us; we didn’t really get anything out of them. I’m glad we came out with a better mindset right from that. We played more our style of game. And when we do that, usually good things happen.”
Kopitar scored his 32nd career game-winner on a 25-foot wrist shot in the first overtime game for either team with the new 3-on-3 format.
”We’ve had a few chances there in preseason to get a read on it,” Carter said. ”It’s different, for sure. You can’t lose your gut or else you’re pretty much (lost), but it’s fun. It’s exciting for the fans, it’s back and forth, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo challenged that Los Angeles was offside on Kopitar’s goal, but officials determined that Tanner Pearson had held onto the puck long enough for a teammate to get back behind the blue line before carrying it into the zone.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 25 saves. For Minnesota, Darcy Kuemper stopped 35 shots in his season debut.
The Kings, who were outscored 12-2 in their first three games, outshot Minnesota 32-14 through the first two periods, but only led 1-0. Toffoli scored at 1:13 of the second, ending Los Angeles’ season-opening 0-for-14 power-play drought with 11 seconds left on Marco Scandella’s penalty for tripping Jeff Carter.
Toffoli got a cross-ice pass from Milan Lucic and beat Kuemper over his left shoulder with a short wrist shot.
”It was embarrassing the way the first three games went,” Lucic said, adding that, ”Tonight, we were engaged right from the drop of the puck.”
Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu tied it at 5:37 of the third, exactly a minute after Nick Shore was sent off for tripping Jonas Brodin. Zach Parise’s one-timer deflected off the stick of Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb and into Quick’s pads, but Koivu backhanded the rebound past him.
Los Angeles had a couple of excellent chances to end their power-play famine in the first period after Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba was sent off for holding Kopitar at the 8:44 mark.
Alec Martinez’s long slap shot caromed off the end boards. Dustin Brown tried to backhand the puck inside the left post, but Kuemper made a sprawling save with his outstretched right leg. He made an identical save seconds after the ensuing faceoff, as Kopitar tried to convert a rebound of Doughty’s long slap shot.
Dumba found himself on a breakaway a few seconds after leaving the penalty box but shot the puck high and wide of the right post while trying to beat Quick to the glove side with a 25-foot wrist shot.
NOTES: Kings D Derek Forbort, who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, made his NHL debut – becoming the last of the 30 first-round picks in the 2010 draft to play in an NHL game. He was the 15th overall selection. … Kuemper was 14-12-2 with a 2.60 goals-against average last season in 31 games and 28 starts. … Kings D Matt Greene was sidelined because of an undisclosed injury. … Minnesota is 20 for 130 on the power play in 36 games against the Kings since scoring five power-play goals against Mathieu Garon in a 5-1 home victory on Feb. 7, 2006. … Minnesota LW Jason Zucker, who was born in nearby Huntington Beach, scored 21 goals in 51 games with the Wild last season despite a plus-minus rating of minus-9. …. Brown played in his 806th regular-season game, overtaking Hall of Fame D Rob Blake for fourth place on the franchise list. … Minnesota’s penalty-killing unit staved off all seven power plays by the Arizona Coyotes in Thursday’s 4-3 road win.