Quick stonewalls Wild as Kings win fourth straight
LOS ANGELES -- The trio of Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter delivered the line of the game again. Pearson's third-period goal was the difference as the Los Angeles Kings earned a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday before a...
LOS ANGELES - The trio of Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter delivered the line of the game again.
Pearson’s third-period goal was the difference as the Los Angeles Kings earned a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday before an announced crowd of 18,230 at Staples Center.
“We’re just talking and looking at different kind of situations,” said Pearson, who leads the Kings with five goals, on the banter with his linemates. “When we go back to the bench, if there’s something there, we’ll communicate and work through it.”
Pearson, Toffoli and center Carter, dubbed “That ’70s line” because each wears a jersey number in the 70s, has produced 11 of the Kings’ 14 goals this season. Pearson and Toffoli provided the scoring against the Wild and Carter added an assist.
Toffoli connected with left winger Pearson, who fielded a pass from his linemate and slapped a wrist shot for a winner and a 2-0 Kings’ advantage at 2:58 of the third period. That turned out to be the difference as the Kings (4-1-1) captured their fourth straight victory and ended a two-game winning streak at Staples by the Wild (2-2-0).
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had another strong outing, blanking the Wild until they scored early in the third period. It was the first goal allowed in two games by Quick, who shut out the St. Louis Blues in his last game. Quick stopped 40 shots against the Wild.
“It’s been huge,” Toffoli said of Quick’s play. “I don’t think we’ve had our game the last little while. We’re winning, but winning on penalty killing and goaltending right now. We know that. We have to do better in a lot of areas. ‘Quickie’ is being Quickie, and he’s huge for us again.”
Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom, in his season debut, finished with 14 saves.
For the Wild, it was another tough setback on their two-game swing through Southern California.
“We are creating the chances. Maybe it’s in our head a little bit,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “There are times when we are missing nets or a couple of posts that we hit. Maybe if it’s coming a little bit easier, then we are not trying to be quite as precise and we are getting if off quicker. We are generating the chances. It’s a matter of finishing.”
Toffoli got the Kings rolling, giving them a 1-0 lead, gathering a loose puck that bounced off the skate of Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and ripping it past Backstrom for a power-play goal with 6:06 remaining in the first period. It was Toffoli’s third goal of the season.
Minnesota cut the deficit to a goal when left winger Matt Cooke scored, lifting a backhander past Quick at 6:47 of the third.
The Wild outshot the Kings 24-12 through two periods and finished with a big edge overall (41-16 shots). Los Angeles also was doubled up in shots on goal (43-18) in a 1-0 shootout win over the Blues on Thursday night.
Like the Blues, the Wild couldn’t take advantage of it.
“It feels a lot like the other night,” said Minnesota forward Thomas Vanek, referring to Friday night’s 2-1 setback to the Anaheim Ducks. “It’s frustrating because as a team we played well again. There’s not much we can change besides scoring goals. It’s not like we were trying to be too pretty.”
Pearson acknowledged the Kings have much room for improvement.
“Obviously, you don’t want that to happen, but we just need to get more shots and create more chances,” Pearson said. “You want to try to create at 15 shots per period, that’s kind of the goal. We keep coming up short of that. I think it’s clear we have to shoot more pucks.”