LOS ANGELES – For the first 40 minutes of tonight’s game, we weren’t sure if we were at a hockey game or an open skate between the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings.
A bland first two periods where the the Kings out shot the Wild 30-9, but that was reasonably all there was to see.
Jarrett Stoll opened up the scoring less than a minute in to the third period though. A rush from the Kings offense lead by Jeff Carter, had Carter wrapping around the net and finding Stoll open in the slot. Stoll waited for the goaltender to bite, and fired a soft shot to the back of the net to give the Kings their only goal of the night.
“Sometimes we make goalies look good, and we need to get better shots on the net and finish,” said Stoll of the Kings offense at the beginning of the third period. Obviously, Stoll took note of his own comments, but the Kings offense didn’t make the opposing goaltender good… he did it himself.
The goaltender for the Wild was Darcy Kuemper, who was making just his ninth start looked like a seasoned veteran in net. By the end of the night, Kuemper made 39 stops on 40 shots, as well as three stops on three opportunities in the shootout. Kuemper showed a calmness that most young goaltenders don’t have, and was a defining factor in keeping the Wild in the game.
The Wild offense once against, “stole one” from another team, as they only had 17 shots on goal and were able to push the game in to overtime and eventually a shootout, where they would go on to win.
Nino Niederreiter scored both goals for the Wild. The first coming three and half minutes in to the third. A lead pass hit the stick of Nino and the puck was tipped in the net.
Niederreiter’s second goal came in the fourth round of the shootout when he shoulder deked Kings goaltender, Jonathan Quick, who bit initially and fell forward to the ice, leaving Neiderreiter a forehand deke away from an open net, and easy put in to win the game for the Wild.
Final from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California:
Wild, 2 Kings, 1 (SO)
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Anze Kopitar, LAK (4 shots, -1 plus/minus)
2. Darcy Kuemper, MIN (39 saves, 1 goal against)
3. Jonathan Quick, LAK (16 saves, 1 goal against)
For more updates on the Los Angeles Kings, follow me on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard, and don’t forget to follow @ValleyBayNews as well.