Kuemper blanks Kings as Wild end five-game losing streak
LOS ANGELES (AP) Zach Parise scored Minnesota’s first power-play goal in January, Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves in his seventh career shutout and the Wild snapped their five-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Erik Haula added a short-handed goal for the Wild, who pulled out of their tailspin with a gritty effort against the Pacific Division leaders. Charlie Coyle scored on a breakaway during a solid offensive performance by a team that had scored just one goal in its previous nine periods.
Jonathan Quick stopped 25 shots for the Kings, who lost in regulation for just the third time in 13 games since Christmas. Los Angeles was shut out for just the second time in 43 games since the opening week of the season.
Minnesota thrived with big performances on special teams. Parise started the scoring off a pass from Thomas Vanek, ending the Wild’s 0-for-25 drought across 12 games since Dec. 28 on the power play.
Los Angeles then gave up a 2-on-1 short-handed rush early in the third, and Haula converted Mikko Koivu’s pass for his second short-handed goal of the year.
Jordan Nolan had the Kings’ best scoring chance late in the second, but Kuemper stopped him at point-blank range. Kuemper looked sharp in his first victory and second appearance for the Wild since Dec. 22.
Minnesota forward Jarret Stoll played at Staples Center for the first time since the two-time Stanley Cup champion left the Kings as a free agent last summer. The Kings honored him with a video tribute during a first-period break, and Los Angeles fans rose for a standing ovation.
Stoll was a dependable two-way center and a Kings leader, but his offensive production declined sharply before his departure, and the Kings didn’t re-sign him after he was arrested and eventually charged with two misdemeanors relating to alleged drug possession in Las Vegas shortly after the Kings’ season ended last April. He struggled with the New York Rangers this year before getting waived and catching on with the Wild.
Coyle scored with 13.6 seconds left in the second period after a Kings defensive change and an alley-oop pass from Marco Scandella left him alone on Quick. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter used his challenge to argue Coyle was offside, but the play stood.