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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 6, Kings 3

Wild erases early deficit, scores three times in second period in victory

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Recap: Wild 6, Kings 3

Pominville, Haula lead Wild past Kings

The Wild used six different scorers, as Jason Pominville and Erik Haula had two points each, to give Minnesota a 6-3 win against the Kings

  • 04:37 •

Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center:

1. The best line for the Wild (2-1-0) down the stretch last season, the grouping of Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jason Pominville, seems to be finding its groove once again.

After being apart for most of a season-opening loss to St. Louis last week, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau reunited the line in the team's win over Winnipeg on Saturday. Not wanting to change anything up on Tuesday, the line was together again and looked like its old self.

Erik Haula got things started less than two minutes into the game (more on that below) while Pominville capped the first period with a ridiculous far-corner snipe that beat Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff with 11.6 seconds remaining in the period, all started by Haula's interception of an outlet pass at the red line.

"We just came off the bench, and usually first guy out goes across. [Haula] went across and was able to pick it up, and I kind of was able to get speed and pick a corner," Pominville said. "So it was a good turnover, played fast and was able to get a good release and good wood on it."

Video: LAK@MIN: Pominville roofs shot past Zatkoff for lead

The goal was Pominville's first of the season and came in the third game. The veteran winger went 21 games before registering his first goal last year.

"I felt good, I've been shooting good in practice. Missed a couple looks, actually one in the first game and one in the second, but it's nice to be able to get one early and hopefully get confidence and get going in the right direction," Pominville said. "But yeah, I don't have to worry about it now and just go out there and play."

"I thought they played a good game tonight," Boudreau said. "They played well; they were our best line tonight for sure."

2. The Kings (0-3-0) scored just 50 seconds into the game to grab the early lead. But it didn't take the Wild long to get it back.

On the very next shift, Boudreau sent the Niederreiter, Haula and Pominville line over the boards. Moments into the shift, Haula cruised into the zone after a nice touch pass by Niederreiter at neutral and lasered a shot through the five hole of Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, tying the game at 1-1. 

Just 46 seconds ticked off the clock between goals, and Haula's tally came on Minnesota's first shot of the night. It was his first while linemates Niederreiter and Pominville each chalked up their first helpers.

Tweet from @mnwild: Boudreau: "I told the players not every game can be a Picasso, but we found a way to win." #mnwild

"Our first shift right away, perfect play," Pominville said. "It's something we actually had talked about, our set breakout, great execution. [Haula], obviously his speed is a big threat on our line, Nino coming across was able to open that lane for [Haula], who swung low and had speed. Just a good tip by Nino to [Haula] and he obviously made a good shot, too."

3. Forward Teemu Pulkkinen scored his first goal in a Wild uniform.

Moments after Mikko Koivu gave Minnesota a three-goal lead at 16:11 of the second period, Pulkkinen made it a 5-1 game when he swatted a shot from the point by Jonas Brodin out of mid-air and through Zatkoff. 

Video: LAK@MIN: Pulkkinen's redirected tap finds the twine

Pulkkinen, claimed off waivers by the Wild last week from the Detroit Red Wings, made a habit of scoring in the American Hockey League and appeared on the verge of a breakout season in Detroit last season before an injury marred his campaign. Seeking a new beginning in Minnesota, Pulkkinen is off to a good start.

The goals by Koivu and Pulkkinen, scored 57 seconds apart, capped a three-goal second period for the Wild, who have now scored seven goals in three middle periods this season.

"[We] for sure got some momentum killing those penalties there in the second period," Koivu said. "When they got the third one, we wanted to keep the momentum, especially in our own building, keep the fans in the game and get that energy all the way through the lineup."

Loose Pucks

• Minnesota killed all four Los Angeles power plays and is now 11-for-11 on the PK. It's a positive sign for the Wild, who finished 27th in penalty killing a season ago (77.9 percent). The Wild also killed an extended 5-on-3 midway through the second period while maintaining a 2-1 lead. Shortly after killing it off, Charlie Coyle scored, extending the Wild lead to two goals; the big right-winger now has two goals in Minnesota's first three games.

"That 5-on-3 was huge. We scored two or three minutes after that to make it 3-1," Boudreau said. "That was probably pretty deflating, probably, on their bench, [thinking] 'What do we have to do?'"

• Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves to improve to 3-1-1 in six career games (five starts) against Los Angeles.

Jared Spurgeon scored his first goal of the season at 17:42 of the third period, dumping the puck 190 feet into an empty net.

• Defenseman Ryan Suter finished with two assists and now has four points (1-3=4) through three games.

• The Wild held a 25-4 margin in blocked shots. 

• Attendance: 18,644

He Said It

"They must have been pretty frustrated after the first period, they hit four posts and they go in losing in a period they should have won. But like I told the players, not every period can be a Picasso. We found a way. We weren't great tonight, but we found a way to win." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on the first period on Tuesday, in which the Wild were out-attempted 23-7 but led 2-1

He Said It Again

"No adjustments yet, except for yelling at them. But I didn't yell tonight." -- Boudreau when asked if he's made any adjustments during first intermissions that have helped the Wild score seven second-period goals in three games

They Said It

"We're not playing our game. With the exception of the San Jose game, we give up way too many chances against and goals against. We obviously gotta cut that down and score some ourselves." -- Kings captain Anze Kopitar on the 0-3 start to the season

They Said It Again

"There were saves to be made there that weren't. I'm not sure which team had more scoring chances tonight." --Kings coach Darryl Sutter

Three Stars 

* Erik Haula

** Jason Pominville

*** Anze Kopitar

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