LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings spent much of the afternoon trapped in their own end while the Minnesota Wild pelted them with 41 shots.
Thanks to Jonathan Quick and two more timely contributions from That 70s Line, the Kings are still perfect on their homestand.
Quick made 40 saves and Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in the Kings’ fourth straight victory, 2-1 over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
Toffoli scored an early power-play goal and Tanner Pearson added a third-period goal for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are dominating their six-game homestand despite long stretches of indifferent offensive play.
“I don’t think we’ve had our game for the last little while,” center Jarret Stoll said. “We’re winning on penalty-killing and goaltending.”
That’s enough when the champions can get incredibly consistent production from That 70s Line — the jersey-number-inspired nickname for Jeff Carter’s combo with youngsters Toffoli and Pearson. The trio has scored 11 of Los Angeles’ 14 goals this season.
The NHL’s best defensive team last season is back in top form again. Cooke’s goal was just the third by Los Angeles’ opponents in 245 minutes during the homestand, and Quick was stellar in the Kings’ crease after tying Rogie Vachon’s franchise record with his 32nd career shutout Thursday.
“Sometimes on a longer homestand, it gets to be the same thing every day, so we knew we had to get up for these guys,” Quick said. “It’s good to get that level of competition on a homestand.”
Niklas Backstrom stopped 14 shots and Matt Cooke scored with 13:13 to play for the Wild, who lost back-to-back games in Southern California despite largely impressive performances.
“I feel like we controlled a lot of the play, but Quick played a fantastic game,” Minnesota forward Zach Parise said about his U.S. Olympic teammate. “I guess everyone has kind of grown accustomed to seeing a game like that out of him. I like how we’re playing. Our system is working really well, so we’ll be fine. We just played two very good teams, and we played very well as a whole in both of the games. We just couldn’t find a goal.”
Los Angeles held the Wild scoreless on five power plays, extending Minnesota’s season-opening drought to 0 for 16. The Wild repeatedly cycled the puck in the Kings’ end, but Quick was on top of almost everything that came his direction.
“There’s not much that we can change besides scoring goals,” Minnesota forward Thomas Vanek said. “It’s not like we’re trying to be too pretty. We were shooting a lot. We were tipping. We were going for loose rebounds. But Quick was on his game, which we all knew. He’s a world-class goalie, and he showed that today.”
Backstrom was solid in his first start of the season for Minnesota. He hadn’t played since Jan. 30 after undergoing surgery on his abdomen and hip last season.
Toffoli jumped on a loose puck to score the Kings’ second power-play goal in 19 tries this season — and Minnesota’s first power-play goal allowed — after Mike Richards’ pass deflected off Ryan Suter’s skate in the crease.
Minnesota dominated long stretches of the first two periods, and rookie Christian Folin sparked the Wild when he sent Anze Kopitar into the boards with a ferocious check, prompting Richards to instigate a fight.
Pearson’s linemates set up his team-leading fifth goal early in the third period, with Toffoli feeding him in the slot for a one-timer.
Cooke finally scored on a backhand when he was left unguarded in front of Quick, whose shutout streak ended at more than 111 minutes.
Former Minnesota forward Marian Gaborik missed his third straight game for the Kings, and defenseman Jake Muzzin still hasn’t played this season. Both Stanley Cup winners are out with injuries.
NOTES: Minnesota scratched rookie D Matt Dumba, the last player to touch the puck on the turnover that led to Corey Perry’s winning goal for Anaheim on Friday night. D Keith Ballard also was a healthy scratch. … Both teams have the next three days off. Los Angeles hosts Buffalo on Thursday, and Minnesota returns home to face Arizona. … Minnesota’s Jason Zucker barely avoided serious injury when Kyle Clifford’s skate blade nearly grazed his throat after Zucker tripped Clifford in the second period.
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