Thursday, February 24, 2011
Kings: Defense gets soft and Minnesota ties score, 2-2
By Dan Arritt
After the 2nd period:
Kings 2, Minnesota Wild 2
The good:Wayne Simmonds scored for his second multi-goal game of his career. The other came in October in a 4-2 loss in Phoenix. Hopefully he’ll be able to celebrate this time. The scoring play was a great example of why Simmonds is a good fit on the top line with Anze Kopitar. Simmonds kept the puck alive along the boards, dumped it to Kopitar who was also against the boards and then found space in the middle ice. Kopitar slid a perfect pass to Simmonds and he turned and shot into the top left corner for a 2-1 lead with 9:42 remaining in the period.
The bad: Two soft goals for the Wild. The first one was really bad, the second was very bad. Minnesota fourth-line center Eric Nystrom came into the game with two goals in 60 games this season, but he had no problem skating between three Kings and shoveling the puck through the pads of goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier to tie the score, 1-1. The Wild were in the middle of a line change at the time and didn’t even have a full team on the ice. Nystrom carried the puck from the side of the net and cut between Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Michal Handzus before using a one-hand jab to poke the puck past the goal line. It looked like one of those, 'I got it, you take it' moments. The Wild tied it again with 4.5 seconds left in the period. The goal came four seconds after Drew Doughty went to the penalty box for interference. The Wild won the face-off in the Kings' zone and the puck skidded to the top of the circle. It sat there just waiting to be cleared, but instead Brent Burns skated up and fired a wrist shot past Bernier. Seems the Kings started intermission a little early on that one.
The in between: After recording their fewest shots on goal this season the night before in Anaheim (18), the Kings were on pace to record their most shots this season (37) but they managed just three the last 10 minutes and sit on 25. The power-play goal by Minnesota ended 22 consecutive penalties killed by Los Angeles.