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Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Los Angeles

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

After any loss, an NHL team is going to be upset. You don’t try telling an NHL player after a shootout loss, “Hey, you got a point out of it!” You probably won’t get punched in the snout, but you’ll likely get a look that says, “I would really like to punch you in the snout right now.”

Still, tonight’s 3-2 loss was filled with positive and negative swings. The Wild lost, but they got a point. The Wild jumped out to a two-goal lead and had a great start, but took to many penalties and lost way too much momentum. The Wild penalty killers looked good, but the power play did not. The Wild was dominated in the second, but controlled a lot of the play in the third. The Wild scored two goals in the shootout, but the Kings scored three. Upsetting? Yes. But all was not lost. Just don’t punch me in the snout for suggesting that. 

Todd Richards bristled during his postgame press conference when asked what was wrong with the power play. He pointed out that he was asked last week about how the power play was the greatest thing since a composite stick, and the Wild couldn’t score any other way. He said he’s not worried, and that good NHL teams are good at killing penalties. Make no mistake; the Kings are a very good team.

But there certainly was a turning point that related to the Wild’s inability to convert with the man advantage. After Dustin Brown was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to the head on Antti Miettinen, the Wild had five minutes of power play time in the second period. It started off well, with plenty of chances, but it ended with a whimper and only four shots on goal. Any time you get the benefit of a five-minute major, it’s likely the other team is going to get some big opportunities later. And that’s what happened when the Kings were awarded a five-on-three and didn’t take long to convert on an Anze Kopitar goal.

And that was the bottom line tonight, is the Wild hasn’t been able to rectify its problem of taking way too many penalties. They got away with taking 10 minors in Edmonton, but they knew they couldn’t keep giving teams man advantage situations. Yet, in the first period, Wild players carved a path to the box four times. It took three more in the second, but the two that came within a minute of each other were what did Minnesota in and led to the Kopitar equalizer.

Guillaume Latendresse scores goals. He’s not counted on to prevent them. But he came up with a highlight reel stop in the second period that probably had Niklas Backstrom’s mouth agape. Latendresse’s stop came because of a disastrous miscommunication between Backstrom and Greg Zanon, who shot the puck away from his own goaltender before tumbling over him. The puck went right to the stick of Ryan Smyth who had the entire goal to shoot at with both Zanon and Backstrom on their backs at the side of the net. Suddenly, Latendresse slid in out of nowhere and had his stick straight up in the air, somehow deflecting away a sure goal. Have a look-see right here.

Nick Schultz is always good for a goal or two per season. He just needs to be facing a team from Southern California to get it. In the third game last year, Schultz potted his only tally against the Kings. He then waited eight games before he could face a California team and promptly snapped his 85-game goal-less skid. Of his 23 career goals, Schultz has scored four against the Kings and five against Anaheim.
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