Wild fall to Kings in overtime
LOS ANGELES — After his Minnesota Wild clinched the best first-half record in franchise history with an overtime loss Saturday, Bruce Boudreau can officially make plans to be back at Staples Center in a few weeks to coach in the NHL All-Star game.
“I’d rather have the other point,” Boudreau said.
The Los Angeles Kings earned that other point while Jeff Carter bolstered his own case for a spot in the big midseason showcase.
Tanner Pearson tipped home Alec Martinez’s pass for his 11th goal at 3:32 of overtime, sending the Kings to a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.
Zach Parise scored a power-play goal with 42.1 seconds left in regulation for the Wild, but Pearson ended the game with a slick deflection in front of Darcy Kuemper for his fourth goal in six games.
After Minnesota jumped to an early two-goal lead, Carter had a goal and two assists in the 12th multipoint game of his monster season. The Kings then improved to 8-1 in games decided in 3-on-3 overtime play when Pearson deflected home the winner.
“We knew we didn’t play the way we were supposed to in the first (period), and I give our guys credit,” Carter said. “We regrouped and played a really solid forty-five.”
Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle scored first-period goals and Kuemper stopped 32 shots for the Wild, who have lost two of three after their 12-game winning streak. Minnesota is still the Western Conference’s best defensive team with just 84 goals allowed, but has yielded at least four goals in five of its last six games.
“We fought back, and every point is a good point, there’s no doubt,” Boudreau said. “I just don’t like the trends that are happening in the last six games, and if we want to be a legitimate good team, we have to correct those things. . . . You go through these things, but we need one really good game where we’re back to checking everybody and not giving up a lot of really good scoring chances. Maybe we’ve got to stop scoring to get back into the defensive mode.”
Minnesota is 24-9-5 for a team-record 53 points in the first half of the season, even with three games left to play. Boudreau also clinched a spot at All-Star weekend representing the Central Division.
“Those are good accomplishments for one minute or one day, and then everybody forgets about them,” Boudreau said. “There’s only one accomplishment that you really want to get that people remember, and that’s the final one, so that’s the one that counts.”
Boudreau also expressed no strong feelings about his return to Anaheim on Sunday to face the Ducks, who fired him last spring after four consecutive Pacific Division titles and just three playoff series victories.
“Hope they have a good media room tomorrow, for food,” Boudreau said. “It’ll be fine.”
Jake Muzzin scored the tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period for the Kings, but Parise evened it with Kuemper pulled for 6-on-4 play in the final minute after Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty was sent off for tripping.
Marian Gaborik also scored and Peter Budaj made 21 saves for the Kings, who have won three of four. Carter scored his 22nd goal in the second period and set up the Kings’ next two goals, giving him 12 points in Los Angeles’ last nine games.
The Kings went ahead when Muzzin snapped his 18-game goal drought since Nov. 23 with the go-ahead goal.
Gaborik’s tying goal in the second period deflected high off Kuemper’s stick, hit Wild defenseman Ryan Suter in the head and went in.
Notes: Dustin Brown appeared in his 922nd game for the Kings, surpassing Marcel Dionne for third place in team history. The Stanley Cup-winning captain has spent his entire 13-year career in Los Angeles. . . . Doughty got his 251st career assist on Gaborik’s goal, surpassing Mark Hardy for second place in franchise history among defensemen. . . . The Kings honored former forward Tomas Sandstrom before the game. The Swede spent parts of five seasons with Los Angeles and played on the 1992-93 Western Conference champion team.
Wild: At Ducks on Sunday.
Kings: Host Stars on Monday.