Yo, State of Hockey Legion!
Today marks a great day in the history of America for a couple of reasons. First, the game show Jeopardy! debuted in 1964. What else happened on this day for 500? Well, technically it hasn’t happened, yet. But the Minnesota Wild is about to drop the puck with the Los Angeles Jesters, also known as the Kings. So that’s pretty special.
Looking to knock the Kings off of its Stanley Cup pedestal will be Niklas Backstrom. The goaltender is back in the net after taking the day off yesterday as the club traveled to Dallas to face the Stars. Well, Backstrom is rested and ready to face the Royals. The netminder is 6-5-3 with a 2.39 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 15 career starts (16 appearances) versus the Kings.
Also looking to knock some Crowns will be defenseman Brett Clark. The 36-year-old makes his debut in a Wild sweater tonight. He’ll wear no. 5. Clark replaces Justin Falk, who will be a healthy scratch. The Wild will dress seven defenseman, as Nate Prosser re-enters the lineup because Torrey Mitchell is sick. Josh Harding is still on Injured Reserve, as he continues treatment for multiple sclerosis, but has been feeling great lately and is hopeful to start practicing with the team.
The Wild wears its Forrest Green third sweaters with Minnesota scrawled across the chest, while the Kings wears its road whites with black trim.
Follow the action online @mnwildLIVE.
Period 1 - MIN 1, LAK 1
The Kings got on the board first on the power play but the Wild answered with a great passing play and finish.
LA Captain Dustin Brown came off the wall on the left side and burned a shot past Backstrom's glove side. Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar picked up assists on the play.
The Wild answered with a highlight reel passing play. The Wild was in transition and Pierre-Marc Bouchard found Devin Setoguchi cross-ice with a pass. Setoguchi then went back against the grain to a trailing Matt Cullen. The veteran caught the puck and released a wicked wrister high over the glove of Kings' netminder Jonathan Quick. It was Cullen's seventh goal of the season.
The Wild had to shake off the travel legs and gained steam as the period went on. Expect big things in the second period.
Period 2 - MIN 2, LAK 3
The Kings took advantage of another power play and extended its lead, but the Wild responded late in the second.
Jeff Carter took the puck at the top of the right circle and fired a hard wrist shot through a screen over the glove of Backstrom. Defenseman Drew Doughty and Tyler Toffoli picked up assists on the play.
Justin Williams extended the Kings lead on a breakaway. He blocked a shot, raced down the ice and fired a shot past the blocker of Niklas Backstrom for his sixth tally of the season.
The Wild's top line kept the puck in the zone and after a few opportunities, Charlie Coyle finally slipped a backhander past Quick. The forward was streaking in, had his stick lifted but stuck with the play. As he was falling, he whacked a backhander past the sprawling netminder. Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise assisted on the play.
Wild has 20 minutes to mount a comeback. I think they can do it. Stay tuned.
Period 3 - MIN 3, LAK 3
The Wild answered in the third with a power play goal.
Minnesota had a 5-on-3 power play for two minutes. After settling the puck into the zone, the Wild set up its box and moved the puck around the perimeter. Mikko Koivu went cross-box to Parise stationed on the left side of the net. The winger fired it home for his team-leading 15th goal of the season. Ryan Suter was credited with the second assist.
The Wild showed heart in the third, evening the score and forcing overtime. Now let's go get those two points.
Overtime - MIN 3, LAK 3
No scoring to report in OT, so we'll clean off the ice and head to a shootout.
Shootout - MIN 4, LAK 3
Parise up first and jukes Quick and fires into the wide open net.
Brown comes in and is denied by Backstrom.
Koivu used his patented forehand-backhand upstairs move to score on Quick.
Richards comes in, slows down and fires one past Backstrom's glove.
Cullen slows down, stick handles and slips a shot through the legs of Quick.
Wild pulls off a big comeback win in the shootout. Up next, St. Louis Blues back at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.