Kings keep Wild cool
The Los Angeles Kings extended the Minnesota Wild's losing streak to four games on Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 home win.
Anze Kopitar and Michael Handzus scored on the power play, with Alexander Frolov adding an empty-net mark in the waning seconds to give the Kings their second consecutive win.
Goalie Erik Ersberg was less than two minutes from recording his first shutout of the season when beaten by Brent Burns of the Wild. Ersberg finished with 33 saves.
"Ersberg was great," said Kings coach Terry Murray. "The plays they had at the net were quick plays, hard plays, stuff coming from around the back of the net."
Los Angeles (13-12-4) at least temporarily leapfrogged Edmonton and Colorado to move into a ninth-place tie with Phoenix in the Western Conference. The Oilers and Coyotes play later Saturday.
The Kings had lost three straight and seven of the last eight against Minnesota.
Minnesota (15-12-1) has lost four consecutive games and failed to gain any ground on Vancouver and Calgary in the Northwest Division. The Wild are coming up empty on offence, with just three goals during their losing streak.
"I think really we only had a couple of chances to score," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. "That's not enough. That's not a good effort.
"The guys practised well and they had good energy, and then the game comes the next day and there's nothing. We didn't play good enough against a team who really worked hard today. They moved the puck well, they were strong with the puck and they made great plays. You just have to play better than this."
Niklas Backstrom held the visitors in the game, finishing with 40 saves. The Wild were outshot 31-17 through two periods but were trailing by just a goal thanks to Backstrom.
Kopitar got his 10th of the season late in the first from a scramble near the Minnesota crease. Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan drew assists on the play.
On the winning goal, Wayne Simmonds tipped a shot past Backstrom and Handzus swooped in as the puck lay in the crease for his seventh.
Burns converted a pass from former Kings centre Eric Belanger for his fifth goal of the season, but Minnesota could get no closer.
Ersberg had a measure of good fortune in the game, watching behind him as a shot hit both posts.
Los Angeles entered the game second-best in the NHL in preventing shots on goal and 11th in goals-against average.
With files from the Associated Press