February 27th, 2017
Only the Kings could score 4 goals in a game and find a way to lose a game they desperately needed. Only the Kings could manage to have the lead 4 times in a game, yet manage to lose in OT. Sure enough, that’s how it went down, as the Kings lost to Minnesota 5-4 in overtime on Monday night in St. Paul.
Mikael Granlund surprised the Kings with his speed 12 seconds into overtime, and wrapped a shot around Jonathan Quick to give the Wild the victory. It was Granlund’s 20th goal of the season, which gave the Wild their 15th comeback win of the season.
The Kings got goals from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin, and Marian Gaborik in regulation. However, the Wild answered each goal, one by one. It was Jason Zucker’s spinning wrist shot midway through the 3rd period that tied the game. Minnesota also got goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder, and Ryan White. White, along with Martin Hanzal, were playing their first game for the team after being acquired Sunday in a trade with Arizona.
Marian Gaborik responded nicely for the Kings, after being a healthy scratch in the teams’ previous game against Anaheim. Gaborik had a goal and an assist, and was using his speed to create numerous opportunities for LA throughout the game.
Jonathan Quick stopped 30 of 35 shots, and although he made some big saves, he wasn’t quite a sharp as he was on Saturday against Anaheim.
The Kings already added one significant piece to their team before Wednesday’s trade deadline, acquiring Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop. The move seems unusual with Jonathan Quick healthy again, but General Manager Dean Lombardi assured everyone that Bishop will see some playing time as Quick regains his form. “You’re never sure how well a guy who’s been out this long, is he going to have his ‘A’ game?,” he said. “This is not an insurance policy. [Bishop] needs to play.”
Even more surprising was Lombardi’s insistence that the team is unlikely to add any more offensive help between now and Wednesday. “The focus has to be on the players we have producing up to their capability. And then we can look at additions.”
The Kings managed to salvage a point in the standings, despite the loss. Tuesday night they’ll be facing an even more critical game on the road at Calgary. The Kings are 2 points behind St Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and now 5 points behind The Flames. That will be the first of 4 more meetings between the Kings and Flames this season.