Kings let third-period lead slip away vs. Wild
LOS ANGELES — The Minnesota Wild rallied twice from one-goal deficits and pulled out a victory against the Los Angeles Kings, who rarely give up late leads.
Matt Moulson and Mikko Koivu scored 62 seconds apart early in the third period, and Zach Parise connected during a power play for the Wild, who snapped the Kings’ six-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Monday night.
"You don’t want to be behind, but this shows that we believe in what we’re doing," Koivu said. "Even though we were down, we felt we were right there and we were able to create things offensively.
"It was big for our confidence, to get a win over a team like L.A., because they’re deep. They have a lot of experience."
Ilya Bryzgalov made 18 saves for the Wild. It was the second time in eight games the Kings lost in regulation after leading following two periods — something that happened only once in 138 games dating to April 4, 2009.
Minnesota won for the seventh time when training after two.
"Keeping the lead in the third period is usually our team’s forte," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "But we didn’t play very well in the second, and then we had a little collapse in the third. They got two goals really quick, and we couldn’t get it back.
"We knew that if we let them back in the game it would be tough to win it."
Alec Martinez and Justin Williams scored for Los Angeles, both capitalizing on turnovers by defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the Minnesota zone. Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots.
"We’ve had a tendency this last week or so to give up leads in the third period, and that’s very uncharacteristic of us," Williams said. "We need to rectify that in these last five or six games, because we’re a team that shuts it down once we get the lead."
The Kings were 0 for 2 on the power play and have gone consecutive games without a power-play goal for the first time since a five-game drought Jan. 21-28. Minnesota is 19-9-4 when they are short-handed fewer than three times in a game.
The Wild came in with the NHL’s fourth worst penalty-killing percentage, but are averaging the sixth fewest penalty minutes.
"It’s important whenever you can limit power plays," Moulson said. "There are a lot of skilled guys in this league that can hurt you on the power play if they get a bunch of chances."
Moulson tied it with 16:06 remaining, using Martinez as a screen and beating Quick for his 22nd goal. Koivu made it 3-2 with his 10th on a one-timer from the top of the left circle.
"We talked about making sure we were sticking to our game plan no matter what and pull out the two points," Moulson said. "We did a great job taking it to them in the third. Our goal was to make sure we got pucks in deep and get the forecheck going, and I thought we did a very good job of that."
Williams put the Kings ahead 2-1 at 11:49 of the second with his 19th goal. Spurgeon had the puck behind his net and tried to clear it around the boards, but Willie Mitchell intercepted it and took a shot that struck Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter before Marian Gaborik got control and set up Williams at the left of the crease.
Martinez opened the scoring 6:30 in with his seventh goal in 15 games and 11th overall.
"We were better in the third than we were in the first," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We turned a lot of pucks over in the neutral zone. It had nothing to do with third period, it was all first period.
"It’s not about defense, it’s about checking. It’s puck battles and tough parts to the game that we have to be able to control, and we weren’t doing that. I feel like a lot of guys weren’t into that."
Parise tied it at 3:37 of the second period, 36 seconds into Tanner Pearson’s hooking penalty. Mikael Granlund got the puck in the slot from Koivu for a one-timer that Parise redirected past Quick’s glove.
Minnesota left wing Dany Heatley, struggling through a 12-goal season and currently in a 14-game drought, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
NOTES: Quick was 11-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average in his previous 13 games. . . . Minnesota D Jonathon Blum, born in Long Beach, Calif., played in his 100th NHL regular-season game. In 2007, he became the first player born and raised in California to be selected in the first round of the draft (No. 23 by Nashville). . . . The Kings were 11-4 in March, tying the franchise record for wins in a month set in January 2002.