The Kings pressed throughout, but their constant stream of chances were stunted by a grooving Devan Dubnyk in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night at the XCEL Energy Center.
Minnesota’s goaltender came into the night having won seven of his last nine decisions, and had no problem adding some validity to his recent success in turning away 38 of the Kings’ 39 shots.
“Yeah, you’ve got to give him some credit,” Kopitar said of Dubnyk. “He’s been doing that for quite a while now so it’s not a surprise. It’s on us, we’ve got to do a better job and make it tougher on him; but credit to him, for sure.”
It didn’t help, though, that the Kings were once again unable to find a way to score on the power play; they are now without a man-advantage goal in their last seven games, going 0-18 during that span. Minnesota, ironically, netted the evening’s game-winning goal during a Kings penalty kill.
“I thought we had some decent looks,” Kopitar said of the power play. “But we’ve got to figure out how to score, that’s the bottom line.”
The Wild jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Erik Haula jammed home a backhand shot 3:46 minutes into the contest.
The Kings outshot the Wild 14-3 in the first, but entered the second with a one goal deficit.
Mikko Koivu gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead three minutes into the second when he cut into the middle of the Kings’ zone and fired a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick’s blocker side.
With 9:25 to play in the second, Tyler Toffoli got the Kings on the board when he beat Devan Dubnyk with a wrist shot high to the blocker side after receiving a drop pass from Dwight King upon entering the zone and cutting to the middle to change the angle.
The Kings made a valiant effort late, registering 13 third period shots to Minnesota’s six, but Dubnyk was on the spot for each and every one.
Nic Dowd made his NHL debut, logged 12:15 minutes of ice time, finishing the game with a +1 rating and one hit.
The Kings finished their season series against the Wild with a 1-2-0 record.
Drew Doughty (1A), Tyler Toffoli (1G) and Dwight King (1A) led all Kings players in points scored (1), Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter in shots taken (6), Milan Lucic in hits delivered (3), Jake Muzzin in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:09). Jonathan Quick made 16 saves in the loss.
The Kings will complete their three-game road trip Thursday night when they take on the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 5:00 PM PST.