Kings lose to Wild 3-2 in overtime
Kings coach Terry Murray cut off the question before it could even really begin, the question that referred to two goal-causing turnovers by goalie Jonathan Quick
as ``fluke'' plays.
``Those are not fluke plays,'' Murray said, sternly. ``Those are giveaways. That's a puck on your stick, that's concentration, that's making the right play, the right decision with the puck.''
So it went for the Kings on Saturday night in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, before a sellout crowd of 18,118 at STAPLES Center. Practically everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, and the Kings earned one point but felt no satisfaction.
In an odd game, one that included 17 penalties and a lot of overall sloppy play, the Kings lost when Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 2:50 into overtime with Drew Doughty
in the penalty box for interference.
In truth, the Kings were fortunate to even get to that point, given the mistakes they made, and the opportunities they failed to capitalize on, during 60 minutes of regulation. The Kings had a four-minute power play in the third period and did not record a shot on goal.
``Some real strange plays out there, strange goals,'' Murray said. ``Power-play opportunities were there, though, at the end of the day, to win the game for us, and penalty killing was there to get us through overtime, and neither one of them did the job for us.''
Quick, for most of this season, has been a rock for the Kings, with his goals-against average and save percentage ranking among the NHL's best. But puck-handling has always been one of Quick's weaknesses, and it bit him on Saturday like never before.
Less than three minutes into the game, with the Kings on the power play, Quick left the crease to play a puck that he should have let teammate Drew Doughty
handle. Instead, he pushed it to Minnesota's Mikko Koivu, who shot it back into an empty net.
In the middle part of the second period, the Kings tied the game 1-1, but just nine seconds later, Quick misplayed a puck behind his net and Cal Clutterbuck scored on a fast wraparound play to give the Wild a 2-1 lead.
's third-period power-play goal, after a perfect cross-ice pass from Anze Kopitar
, allowed the Kings to pick up one point, but there weren't any smiles afterward.
``I take responsibility for the loss,'' Quick said. ``It's extremely unfortunate. I think we outplayed them for the majority of that game and I think, as a team, we deserved the two points. I've just got to be better. I can't make those mistakes. Those can't happen. When you spot a team two goals, it's tough to get two points out of it. We'll just regroup and we'll head to Detroit and we'll look forward to trying to get the two points there.''
Murray didn't like those plays, and Quick certainly didn't either, but the Kings still had ample opportunities to win the game in regulation. At least nine of them, in fact.
The Kings went 1-for-9 on the power play and now have the NHL's fourth-worst power play, in terms of scoring efficiency. The Kings spent 15 minutes, 15 seconds on the power play -- more than one-quarter of regulation time -- but got only one goal.
The Kings had a golden opportunity to take the lead with approximately eight minutes remaining in regulation, when Minnesota's Antti Miettinen was given a double-minor penalty for high-sticking the Kings' Dustin Brown
With four minutes of power-play time, in a situation in which a goal almost certainly would have been the game-winner, the Kings didn't put one shot on goalie Jose Theodore.
The Kings are 2-for-22 on the power play in their last five games.
``It's a concern,'' Murray said. ``Our power play is dropping, percentage-wise, and that has to be good when you play in this league, if you're going to be a good hockey club. We're going on the road now, for five games, in real tough buildings. You're going to get your opportunities for it to be the difference in the game again, and we've got to find a way to get it done.''
The Kings can hope that Marco Sturm will make a positive impact. The Kings acquired Sturm from Boston on Saturday -- contingent upon Sturm passing a physical -- in exchange for ``future considerations.''
Unfortnately, Sturm couldn't help the Kings' offense on Saturday.
The Kings put the puck past Theodore 17 seconds into the game, but the goal did not count, as on-ice officials ruled that Dustin Brown
made incidental contact with Theodore as Doughty shot the puck.
Minnesota got on the scoreboard with a shorthanded goal at the 2:50 mark. Quick made the poor decision to come out and play a puck outside the crease, and he pushed it directly onto the stick of Koivu. With Quick out of position, Koivu shot and scored into an empty net for a 1-0 Minnesota lead.
The teams traded goals in nine seconds in the middle part of the second period.
The Kings tied the game 1-1 at the 9:25 mark. Kopitar picked up the puck in the slot and shot. Theodore made the save but the rebound came back out into the slot, and Brown shot and scored.
Just nine seconds later, though, the Wild took the lead back after Quick misplayed the puck again. This time, Quick went to stop the puck behind the net, but lost it to Cal Clutterbuck, who scored on a wraparound before Quick could get back in position.
``Everybody makes mistakes,'' Quick said. ``It happens. It's part of the game, you know? It's unfortunate that two of them came in back-to-back periods, and one of them was on the power play. That takes all the momentum off the power play. Like I said, I've just got to be better. I can't make those mistakes, and I'm looking forward to Detroit.''
The Kings tied the game with a power-play goal 1:09 into the third period. The Kings held the puck for a while before Kopitar might a sharp cross-ice pass to Smyth, who was parked to the right of the net. Smyth tapped the one-time shot into the Minnesota net to make it 2-2.
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