Minnesota Wild 1, Kings 0 (SO)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Somebody needs to remind the Kings’ offense that the All-Star break is over after they failed to score in regulation, overtime and three attempts of the shootout Tuesday night in losing to the Wild at Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.
THE STAT: The Kings were 5-0 in shootouts coming into the game, but Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown came up empty against Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. The same trio also failed to score in a shootout victory Wednesday against visiting San Jose.
TURNING POINT: Johnson made a nice move on his shootout attempt to get Backstrom to sprawl in the crease, but the Finnish goalkeeper lifted his right skate just high enough to deflect Johnson’s attempt. Pierre-Marc Bouchard then found the five-hole on Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, and Brown was unable to do the same against Backstrom, ending the game.
HOT: Bernier stopped 25 shots in earning his first shutout of the season and second of his career. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the offensive support he deserved.
NOT: Not only has Johnson missed his last two shootout attempts, but he failed to score on a penalty shot in the final minute of a one-goal loss Jan. 17 in Dallas. Jarret Stoll next time, please?
GOOD MOVE: After the Kings were completely ineffective on their first power play of the game, coach Terry Murray moved Johnson to the first unit in place of Stoll. The Kings were able to generate more scoring chances on the second power play, but still couldn’t beat Backstrom, dropping them to 1-for-11 on the man advantage over the last two games against the Wild.
BAD MOVE: Brown has one goal since Dec. 27 and is struggling so badly he missed a wide-open empty-net in a 4-3 victory against Phoenix Jan. 22. So who does Murray pick for the third round of the shootout? Backstrom seemed like he knew what was coming when he knocked away Brown’s attempt. Justin Williams, anybody?
NOTABLE: All three of the Kings games against Minnesota have been tied at the end of regulation, and the Wild are the only team to beat the Kings in overtime or a shootout this season.
UP NEXT: at Edmonton, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. PT.