LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Kings insist they're not as bad as they started this season. Their win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night may help prove them right.
Anze Kopitar scored a short-handed goal in the third period, and the Kings connected on all three shots in the shootout to beat Minnesota 4-3, the Wild's first loss of the season.
"We followed through on our game plan for the entire 65 minutes," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We limited the top team in the league to very few chances. We forced them to take a lot of penalties, and that's very uncharacteristic of a Minnesota Wild team."
Scott Thornton and Kyle Calder also scored for the Kings, who had lost five straight after beating defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim in London in the season opener. Dustin Brown and Michael Cammalleri also scored in the shootout against Nicklas Backstrom.
"We really needed that game, and to do it against them is awesome because we knew how well they've been playing," Cammalleri said. "You're always dangerous when you're desperate."
Pavol Demitra, Mikko Koivu and Brian Rolston scored for the Wild, who remain the only team in the league that hasn't lost in regulation. Their only goal in the shootout was by Petteri Nummelin.
"We took a lot of penalties, a lot of questionable calls, but we battled and we deserved the point that we got tonight," Minnesota centre Eric Belanger said.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin, who began the season on injured reserve because of a groin injury, made 28 saves in his 200th NHL game and first with the Kings. Rookie Jonathan Bernier, who was in net for the Kings' opening-night victory, was returned to his junior team in Lewiston, Maine on Monday after allowing 15 goals over his last three starts.
"I didn't feel too much pressure. I just wanted to play a good first game because first impressions are always a big thing," said the 30-year-old Aubin, who also played for Pittsburgh and Toronto since making his NHL debut in 1988-89. "I've got to get used to everything we do, and I'm going to learn more and more about these guys and be even more comfortable."
The Kings grabbed a 3-2 lead with 13:34 left in the third on Kopitar's third career short-handed goal. Kopitar knocked the puck off Demitra's stick about 10 feet inside the Kings' blue-line, carried it into the Wild zone and beat Backstrom with a wrist shot from the left circle.
Rolston tied it with exactly 12 minutes left in regulation, beating Aubin to the stick side with a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
Koivu put Minnesota ahead 2-1 just 43 seconds into the second period, beating Aubin to the stick side from the low slot after Rolston took the puck away from Kings centre Patrick O'Sullivan behind the net. But Calder tied it at 7:42 of the second on a tip-in of Brad Stuart's one-timer from 45 feet on the power play.
"Discipline was something that wasn't there tonight," Rolston said.
Minnesota did not get a shot on net until Demitra converted a rebound of Marian Gaborik's 40-foot slap shot at 7:25 of the first period.
Referee Stephane Auger had his arm raised to call a delayed penalty against the Wild when Thornton tied the score for the Kings, 30 seconds after Minnesota finished killing off a four-minute penalty.
"We seemed really desperate on the ice," Kopitar said. "We were grinding and really buying into the system. We executed the game plan real well and didn't give up a whole bunch of chances, and the ones we had we put in the net."
Notes: It was the eighth overtime in the last 13 meetings between the teams. ... Minnesota RW Mark Parrish played in his 600th NHL game. His mother Barb was one of 17 players' moms who were guests of the Wild during the team's three-game western swing. So was Tuire Koivu, and Camilla Backstrom, who came from Finland. ... Aubin, who signed with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent in August, made 16 saves in the second period after facing only four shots in the first. ... Minnesota was 0-for-3 on the power play, making them 1-for-22 altogether. ... The Kings came in with a league-worst 4.60 goals-against average.