They limped into Los Angeles without their top two goal-scorers
and started their third-string goaltender, yet they emerged with the
Darcy Kuemper stopped 39 shots, and winger Nino Neiderreiter scored
the tying goal in the third period and the shootout winner to lead
the Wild past the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.
The win was the third straight for Minnesota (23-17-5) and the first
of the season for Kuemper, who entered with an 0-1-0 record, a 6.13
goals-against average and a .625 save percentage. His surprising
performance allowed the Wild to stay in the game despite being
outplayed by a Los Angeles team that continues to lack offensive
"I'm really happy for Darcy," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "I
thought that a lot of guys really competed and battled and played
good games for us tonight, but certainly you have to look at him
Kuemper played with the knowledge that the opportunity to play
regularly is at hand due to injuries suffered by regular goaltenders
Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom.
"It was a chance to redeem myself, and my game is definitely where I
want it to be right now," Kuemper said. "I've been working on it a
lot and playing good down there (for AHL Iowa this season), so I
tried not to change anything when I came up here, and it worked out
pretty good tonight."
The Kings (26-13-5) lost for the sixth time in seven games and
failed to pick up ground on the second-place San Jose Sharks in the
Los Angeles' lone goal was scored by center Jarret Stoll, while
goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 16 Minnesota shots in regulation
Kings coach Darryl Sutter knows the lack of offense is jeopardizing
his team's chances for a division title. Los Angeles failed to score
more than two goals in each of its past six defeats.
"You can't always expect the big guys to score all of the time,"
Sutter said. "We need to get more secondary scoring and more
opportunities from our defense."
Stoll echoed the Kings' frustration after the Kings outshot the Wild
40-17 yet failed to emerge with the victory.
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"In a long season, there are some games you win that you
don't deserve to win," Stoll said. "Hopefully you're on the
better side of those and get points out of those games. We just
couldn't find a way to get the second point."
After a scoreless 40 minutes, Los Angeles took the lead in the
first minute of the final period when Stoll converted a pass
from winger Jeff Carter. Winger Dwight King earned the secondary
assist on Stoll's sixth goal of the season.
The Wild evened the game when Niedereiter deflected a shot by
winger Jason Pominville, sliding it though Quick's legs. Center
Mikael Granlund also assisted on Niederreiter's ninth goal of
the season at 3:25.
Each team had an opportunity to break the tie with a
third-period power play but failed to convert, setting the stage
for Neiderreiter's heroics in the shootout. His goal was the
only successful attempt in the four rounds of the shootout, and
the Wild evened the season series. Los Angeles won a 3-2
shootout in Minnesota on the season's opening night.
NOTES: The Wild recalled D Jonathan Blum and F Erik Haula from
AHL Iowa and placed C Mikko Koivu and G Josh Harding on injured
reserve. Koivu had ankle surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday and
is expected to miss a month. ... Minnesota scratched D Jonathan
Blum and C Mike Rupp . ... The Wild scored five goals on 11
shots in their 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on
Saturday. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Minnesota is the
first team to score five goals on fewer than 13 shots since
shots were first recorded in the 1973-74 season. ... The Kings
recalled LW Tanner Pearson from AHL Manchester. This is the
second recall of the season for Pearson, who has appeared in six
games and scored one goal. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt
Greene, C Colin Fraser and LW Tanner Person. ... Six Kings will
be on rosters for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games: G Jonathan
Quick and LW Dustin Brown (United States), D Drew Doughty and RW
Jeff Carter (Canada), C Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) and D Slava
Voynov (Russia). ... The Wild will be represented in the
Olympics by LW Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter (United States), C
Mikael Granlund and C Mikko Koivu (Finland), and RW Nino
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