Pearson, Carter propel Kings to OT win over Wild
LOS ANGELES — If not for the Los Angeles Kings' uncanny success in overtime, the tone around their team would be very different as the season reaches its midpoint.
Tanner Pearson scored 3:32 into overtime and Jeff Carter registered a goal and two assists as the Kings recorded a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Pearson scored his 11th goal of the season on a deflection of a shot from Alec Martinez to secure the win. The goal raised the Kings' record to 8-1 in the extra session.
Los Angeles (20-16-4) won for the third time in four games. Jake Muzzin had a goal and an assist and Peter Budaj made 21 saves.
Minnesota (24-9-5) received goals from Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle and lost for the second time in three contests following a franchise-record 12 game winning streak. Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves in his first start since Dec. 29.
After the Wild jumped out to an early lead, Kings coach Darryl Sutter use a timeout to calm his team down and settled his players for the comeback win.
"We got two goals off the bat, we've got to stay on the pedal," Coyle said. "Maybe it's a different story if we do that."
Muzzin concurred that the timeout gave Los Angeles a needed breather to regroup.
"We weren't playing quick enough or hard enough. The timeout helped, I thought, to settle the guys down, Muzzin said. "We got our act together in between periods and we came out with the right attitude."
While it is to be expected that the Wild's play would drop off after their record-setting run, coach Bruce Boudreau is concerned with his team's recent poor defensive play as it surrendered four goals for the fourth consecutive game.
"I don't like the trends that are happening last six games," Boudreau said "If we want to be a legitimate good team, we've got to correct these things."
Carter complemented Pearson's knack for scoring big goals for the Kings.
"Tanner can get a jump on guys and find that open ice," Carter said. "Usually when he gets the chance he can put them in."
Minnesota tied the game with 42.1 seconds remaining on Zach Parise's eighth goal of the season on the power play. With Drew Doughty in the penalty box for tripping, Parise took a feed from behind the net by Eric Staal for a wrist shot.
The Kings took their first lead of the game at 3-2 on a power play goal by Muzzin, his fourth of the season 54 seconds into the third period. Muzzin took a feed from Doughty and drifted into the left faceoff circle for a snap shot that beat Kuemper cleanly.
The Kings drew even at 2 on former Wild star Marian Gaborik's second goal of the season at 11:13 of the second period. Gaborik's backhand shot from the slot deflected off Minnesota's Ryan Suter and past Kuemper with Carter and Doughty drawing assists.
The goal was Gaborik's first in 12 games and Doughty registered his 251st career assist, surpassing Mark Hardy for second all-time among Kings defensemen.
Los Angeles cut the margin to 2-1 on Carter's team-leading 22nd goal at 7:39 of the second period. Carter made a solo rush down the right wing to beat Kuemper with a wrist shot with Muzzin drawing the lone assist. The score moved Carter into second place in goals scored in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby (26).
Minnesota extended its lead to 2-0 on Coyle's 13th goal at 7:27 of the first period. Jason Pominville beat Derek Forbort to the puck off a faceoff and his feed from behind the net found Coyle to convert a short shot through Budaj's legs.
The Wild took a 1-0 lead on Koivu's unassisted goal, his 12th at 3:12 of the first period. Koivu beat Budaj on his stick side after a neutral-zone turnover by Muzzin.