LOS ANGELES, California– Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Minnesota Wild (6-6-0) organization, the Tuesday matchup between them and the Los Angeles Kings (5-6-3) was their first game since February 2. With many players still sitting out due to COVID protocols or injuries, the Wild had their work cut out for them traveling to LA.
In their first game back, the Wild were met by a dominant force in goal for the Kings. Jonathan Quick completed his 53rd career shutout in a 4-0 victory. Saving all 28 of the Wild’s shots on goal, Quick secured his first shutout since last season on March 5, 2020.
With the win, the Kings jump the Wild in the West Division standings; the 2 points put the Kings in 7th with 13 points, while the Wild stay at 12 points on the year.
Kings unfazed by Minnesota opportunities
The Kings took control of this game immediately. An early hooking penalty on Nick Bjustad gave the Kings a power-play opportunity with less than 2 minutes elapsed in the game. Jaret Anderson-Dolan would make the Wild pay, finding the back of the net to put the Kings up 1-0.
However, many of the opportunities in the second period were for the Wild. The Kings committed 3 separate penalties to give the Wild 3 power-play opportunities in the period. But power plays are not the strong suit for the Wild; coming into the game, they ranked 31st in power-play efficiency. With the Kings ranked 9th in penalty killing, combined with the dominant night from their goaltender, the Kings were not troubled by the many Wild odd-man opportunities.
It was Kings center Trevor Moore who extended the lead halfway through the second period. It was Anderson-Dolan creating on this play that made the difference; he took the puck coast-to- coast, found Moore in front, and Moore buried the shot. The goal is the first for Moore on the season.
The Wild continued to fight in the third period, but the Kings were able to put the game away. As it looked like the Wild were going to clear the puck out of their zone, Mikey Anderson kept that from happening. He knocked the puck down and found Anze Kopitar behind the defense, and he found Dustin Brown on the right side of the net for the 3rd Kings’ goal. With under a minute left and the goalie pulled, Drew Doughty fired a full-ice shot into the open net to seal the 4-0 victory.
Anderson-Dolan was the top skater for the Kings on the night; his 2 points on 1 goal and 1 assist earned him the second star on the night. But it was all about Quick, whose shutout extended the franchise record for career shutouts. Trevor Moore was thankful for his goaltender after the game.
“Quickie was huge for us. That game could have been a lot different at different times, so we are really thankful for him,” said Moore.
Wild back in action, shorthanded
For Wild fans, there must have been a sense of relief as their hockey team returned to action; they had been sidelined since February 2 with a COVID outbreak in their organization. For the Wild themselves, they are still yet to be back at full strength due to a combination of COVID protocols and injuries.
They entered the Tuesday matchup without four of their defenseman for a variety of reasons. This led to three players, Matt Barkowski, Dakota Dermis, and Louie Belpedio, making their season debuts. Calen Addison made his NHL debut in this game, logging 21 shifts and 19:41 in time-on-ice as the Wild tried to combat their weathered lineup.
The combination of rust and missing players was too much for the Wild to overcome. Even as they kept the shots on goal numbers close, the Kings were able to capitalize more efficiently against the weaker defense of the Wild.
Kings @ Coyotes, Thursday, February 18, 2021, Phoenix, AZ
Wild @ Ducks, Thursday, February 18, 2021, Anaheim, CA