Wild allow seven to Kings, fail to gain in Western wild card
Remain one point back in playoff race; Brown has hat trick for Los Angelesby Dan Greenspan / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
LOS ANGELES -- The Minnesota Wild failed to gain in the Western Conference wild-card race, losing 7-3 to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.
Dustin Brown had a hat trick and an assist, and Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists for the Kings (27-35-6), who have won a season-high five straight games. Calvin Petersen made 25 saves.
"As a group, we try to use these games to get better," said Brown, who has six NHL hat tricks. "This time of year is actually more fun just in general, whether you're in or out. We played a team tonight that needed points desperately, so to beat them we have to play better."
[WATCH: All Wild vs. Kings highlights]
Marcus Foligno had a goal and an assist, and Alex Stalock made 28 saves for the Wild (34-27-7), who lost on the road for the first time since Jan. 14 (won previous six). Minnesota trails the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets by one point in the race for the two Western wild cards into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Obviously, we made some mistakes," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "Turnovers and mistakes defensively, for sure, but we still gave ourselves an opportunity at the end. I like the way we kept competing, that's for sure."
Video: MIN@LAK: Kopitar cleans up rebound for opening gaol
After Jared Spurgeon cut it to 4-2 at 5:33 of the third period, Luke Kunin got Minnesota within 4-3 at 15:35 when he got to a loose puck and scored into an open net with his backhand.
Brown got around Wild defenseman Matt Dumba before cutting across the crease to make it 5-3 at 17:47, and he completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 18:46 to make it 6-3.
"It's a 4-3 game, you're pretty excited at that moment," Foligno said. "We felt like it was coming, and just that rush (by Brown), I don't know what really happened on that rush. … Got stuck with a weird change and they kind of came back the other way and made it 5-3 when we had all the momentum."
Gabriel Vilardi scored 14 seconds later at 19:00 for the 7-3 final.
Video: MIN@LAK: Vilardi whips wrist shot past Stalock
Los Angeles is 8-2-1 in its past 11 games.
"Starting to sound repetitive as a coach after a lot of games, which is a good thing. That means we're finding some consistency, we're doing some things right," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "We're winning the right way, and it means we're moving the needle forward."
Kopitar gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 5:16 of the first period when he scored off the rebound of Brown's initial shot on a 3-on-2 rush.
"Yeah, I was expecting the jazz hands celebration," said Brown, referring to Alec Martinez's goal in double overtime of Game 5 to win the 2014 Stanley Cup. "Yeah, that was very, very similar. You'll see plenty of goals like that, 3-on-2 shot, far pad. It's kind of a staple at this level."
Foligno scored 12 seconds into the second period to tie it 1-1. Petersen saved a backhand by Mats Zuccarello, but the rebound went to Foligno at the top of crease.
Video: MIN@LAK: Foligno rips rebound into the open net
Blake Lizotte scored a shorthanded goal on a 2-on-1 to put Los Angeles ahead 2-1 at 7:36 of the second period, and Trevor Moore made it 3-1 at 8:29 on a breakaway 10 seconds after exiting the penalty box.
"Obviously, a shorthanded goal is something you never want to give up. … Unfortunately, they get a quick one right after," Spurgeon said. "I think we did a good job after that of trying to fight back, but they were playing a pretty defensive game and it was tough to get through."
Brown extended the lead to 4-1 at 4:00 of the third period on a rebound in the crease.
They said it
"Those things kind of kill you on the road. … There were a lot of mistakes out there, just constant ones where we had momentum and then shot ourselves in the foot." -- Wild forward Marcus Foligno
"It's not often our team gets to celebrate that many times in one game. A lot of them came late, but we still enjoyed it." -- Kings coach Todd McLellan
Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Brown nets three verse Wild
Need to know
Brown, who has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past four games, needs one goal for 300 in the NHL. … Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had an assist for his 500th point in the League. … Wild forward Kevin Fiala had his six-game point streak end. … Foligno has 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) this season, an NHL career high. … Los Angeles scored seven goals for the second time this season, with the other coming against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 12 (7-4 win).
Wild: At the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)
Kings: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-W, ALT2, NHL.TV)