NHL Game Summary - Los Angeles at Minnesota
(Thursday, December 31st)
Final Score: Los Angeles 5, Minnesota 2
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Alexander Frolov had two goals and an assist, and Los Angeles tallied four consecutive times to beat the Wild, 5-2, at Xcel Energy Center.
Michal Handzus had a goal and an assist, while Brad Richardson and Ryan Smyth also scored for the Kings, who had lost each of their last four games by one goal. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the victory.
"It's mid-season, but it's still a long way to go," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "I was fortunate to be part of the (Stanley Cup champion) Penguins last year, and I think we were in 10th place with 23, 24 games to go. So things can happen, but you don't want to do that to yourself. We don't want to put ourselves in that position. It's important that in the stretch to the Olympics that we get at least 13, 14 wins in the 20 games."
Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette tallied for the Wild, who had won six of their last seven home games. Niklas Backstrom had a three-start win streak snapped after allowing four goals on 28 shots.
"I think they wanted to get back at us," said Wild defenseman Greg Zanon. "We gave it to them in their building, (and) they wanted to come back at us. They played last night, and I think they came with a lot of energy and kept it simple."
Los Angeles scored three times in the first period to take a commanding lead.
Just 6:35 into the game, Richardson found the puck amidst a host of defenders and was able to backhand a rebound into the net.
With 4:11 remaining in the period, Frolov's 10th of the year gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, and Smyth tallied on the power play with 1:06 remaining to cap the frame's scoring.
The lead grew to four on Handzus' one-timer at the 3:17 mark of the second while a delayed penalty was set to be called on Minnesota. The Wild were finally able to get on the board on Brunette's backhand shot less than two minutes later, but the hosts couldn't cut into their deficit further before the third.
Nolan brought the Wild to within 4-2 with 6:03 left to play in regulation, but Minnesota couldn't get any closer despite having a power play chance with 5 1/2 minutes to go.
Frolov added an empty-net goal with 1:38 left to seal the win.
The Wild have lost two straight after a three-game win streak...Los Angeles leads the season series, 2-1...The Kings are 13-10-1 on the road, while Minnesota is 12-5-1 at home.
12/31 23:03:44 ET