Game 44; 26-13-5
LOS ANGELES - Fresh off being named to their respective countries for the upcoming Olympics, it was exciting to see how Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter and Slava Voynov would all fare tonight. For the Wild, Nino Niederreiter even had some good news in the same vein as he was just named to Switzerland's Olympic squad - but more on him later.
After outshooting their opponents 30-9 through the opening two periods, it appeared as if it was just a matter of time before the Los Angeles Kings scored. But the Minnesota Wild, despite all their injuries, held it together - but they couldn't completely shut down the Kings' attack.
After a scoreless first 40 minutes where Wild netminder Darcy Kuemper was, for all intents and purposes, standing on his head, Los Angeles broke the deadlock early in the third. 50 seconds in, to be exact, Jarret Stoll took a perfect feed in front from Jeff Carter who made no mistake, beating Kuemper to make it 1-0. Dwight King picked up the second assist on the play. Minnesota, however, was resilient.
Just two-and-a-half minutes later, Nino Niederreiter tipped in a Jason Pominville shot past Jonathan Quick to tie the game. Just like that, the game was back to where it had been through the first two periods. So, despite key injuries to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, the Wild were keeping this contest a competitive one.
There was some back-and-forth action on this night but the evening's momentum belonged to the Los Angeles Kings who peppered Kuemper with 40 shots whereas the Wild mustered just 16 against Quick.
The game went into overtime and after nothing was settled there, the two clubs went to a shootout for the second time in as many meetings this season.
In his first-career shootout, Darcy Kuemper was solid stopping all four shots he faced while it was Nino Niederreiter striking again, potting the winning goal past Jonathan Quick to give Minnesota the win.
While they did pick up a point, this was not the type of loss the Los Angeles Kings had in mind. On a night where they dominated most of the game, it seems as if they should have taken two points. Darcy Kuemper, however, had other ideas as he was great, stopping 39 shots en route to the victory. With that said, Los Angeles's offensive struggles continue. Of course, they cannot be faulted for a lack of effort as the chances were definitely there - just not the results.
Overall, it's somewhat of a bitter pill to swallow for the Kings to lose to a team as injury-riddled as the Wild are but it's onward and upward. The Kings will now take their point and look to build on it on Thursday night when they play host to the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.