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Kings chase Harding in win over Wild

by Curtis Zupke
LOS ANGELES – Terry Murray's coaching philosophy is marked by attention to detail, hard work around the net and a deliberate defensive style.

His Los Angeles Kings haven't exactly demonstrated all those facets in a rough start to the season, but they neatly rounded into form in Murray's 1,000th career game with a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

The Kings got scoring contributions throughout their lineup, from fourth line center Colin Fraser to defensemen Alec Martinez and Matt Greene, for only their second win in the past eight games.

They pounced around the net, made life difficult for the opposing goalie and made second efforts in a very Murray-like game in which 12 Kings recorded a point and every L.A. skater had a shot on goal.

Murray predictably downplayed the milestone but was obviously pleased.

"I really liked the focus coming into the game tonight," said Murray, who improved to 494-377-129 on his career. "The players came out right away with the kind of intensity and attitude of moving their feet, getting pucks north, and recovering pucks.
"That was a huge first goal that Fraser scored on a nice play by (Ethan) Moreau from behind the net. That's what I like about the milestone – the fact that the team played well and won the game."

The five goals equaled a season-high for the Kings, who carried a 2.3 goals a game average.

"People harp on us for scoring goals," captain Dustin Brown said. "I don't think it's our goal-scoring problems. If we get in the zone and turn over some pucks and have some pressure, we're a pretty good offensive zone team.
"What we've struggled with this year is getting the puck in deep with pressure on us. If you have no pressure on the puck, it's hard to play an offensive game."

Minnesota dropped its second in a row after a five-game winning streak.

The Wild have relied heavily on their penalty killing unit but it has been a sore spot the past two games with three power-play goals allowed.

Saturday's game turned on a major boarding penalty by Warren Peters, which sparked a four-goal second period by the Kings – their first such period since Dec.27, 2010.

Peters hit Alec Martinez near the half wall at 2:22 of the first period.

Martinez left the ice but came out for the second period with the Kings still on the power play and made the Wild pay when he swatted home Justin Williams' pass through the crease for a 2-0 lead.

"It's kind of my job to come down to the dots there and look for some garbage goals there," Martinez said. "That's one we got."

"We were on our heels before that," Wild center Matt Cullen said. "It's frustrating to get five at that point … that's a tough one."

Minnesota got two goals in the third period, but a lack of offense remains a big concern.

"I don't think it's one simple thing," Cullen said "It's a number of things. It all added up to a terrible game. We're not doing the things to score. There's no real secret. We're just not doing it. We've got to play our game."

Brown extended it to 3-0 on terrific individual second effort. Skating down the left side, Brown avoided Marek Zidlicky's hip check, followed his own shot to the net and scored at 6:49.

L.A. was far from done.

Simon Gagne got the puck behind Minnesota's net, skated to the front and backhanded a shot under Josh Harding's right pad at 11:44.

That ended a rough night for Harding. He entered Saturday with a sparkling 4-0-1 record and 1.18 goals-against average, but was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 21 shots.

Harding was shaken up by an apparent stinger in his arm from Brad Richardson's shot early in the second period but stayed in the game.

Niklas Backstrom was inserted and promptly scored on, although it wasn't much his fault. Greene's slap shot bounced off Cal Clutterbuck and went in with Kyle Clifford screening Backstrom to cap a four-goal second period.

Jarret Stoll started the play with a faceoff win to Trent Hunter.

The Kings took a 1-0 lead only 2:49 into the game on a much-welcomed goal from their fourth line.
Trevor Lewis worked the puck below the goal line for Ethan Moreau, and Moreau set up Fraser for a bang-in goal to the left of Harding.

It was Fraser's first goal as a King and first since March 11, 2011. He was activated earlier this week after a summer spent recovering from foot surgery.

"Right from the drop of the puck we weren't ready to play," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "You always get what you deserve, or at least way more often get what you deserve. We got what we deserved tonight."

Dustin Penner missed the game with a hand injury and Richardson took his place at second line left wing for L.A.

Minnesota played its first game without Guillaume Latendresse, who suffered a concussion on Thursday against San Jose. Nick Johnson played with Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu on the first line.

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