Wild hold off Kings, extend winning streak to six games

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LOS ANGELES — The Minnesota Wild extending their winning streak to six games when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 at Staples Center on Friday.

Kirill Kaprizov scored two goals, and Cam Talbot made 40 saves for the Wild (30-13-3), who moved within three points of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Honda West Division. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I think we’re doing the right things,” Minnesota forward Nick Bonino said. “We’ve talked a lot about how our defensive zone has gotten better. It seems like a lot of their best chances are off the rush or off of broken plays. I think guys have bought in. We’re getting scoring from everyone, from the power play. We’re killing penalties. Goaltending is great, obviously. So it’s been a good six games here.”

Video: MIN@LAK: Kaprizov scores PPG for second goal of game

Anze Kopitar and Trevor Moore scored, and Calvin Petersen made 20 saves for the Kings (17-21-6), who have lost three of four and remain five points behind the Arizona Coyotes for fourth in the division.

“We played a pretty good 60 minutes,” Los Angeles forward Adrian Kempe said. “They’re a good team, they are going to have their chances and they have shown all year that they are very hard to play against. … They don’t give up a lot, but we tried our best and had some good looks, had a couple tough bounces.”

Kaprizov scored his 20th of the season to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 7:46 of the first period, deking Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson before shooting under the arm of Petersen.

“He’s just so creative,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “You know, the way that he gains speed literally without moving his legs is pretty special, so he can do some special things and we’ve seen them all this year, and I look forward to seeing a lot more.” 

Kaprizov is the first rookie in Wild history to score at least 20 goals, and his four-game goal streak is also the longest by a rookie in their history.

“I know I’m biased, but he’s putting together a Calder (Trophy) season,” Bonino said. “I think he’s got the most goals and points (among rookies), and he’s obviously a threat every time he’s on the ice. His goals are pretty amazing. That first goal, pretty fun to watch.” 

Video: MIN@LAK: Moore ties game in final second of the 1st

Moore tied it 1-1 with one second remaining in the first on a one-timer off a pass by Gabriel Vilardi from behind the net.

Kaprizov scored on a wrist shot from the right circle during a power play to make it 2-1 at 6:41 of the second period.

Matt Roy appeared to tie it at 6:58, but the goal was disallowed because Carl Grundstrom made contact with Talbot in the crease.

Nico Sturm then made it 3-1 at 11:19 of the third period. Petersen broke up Bonino’s wraparound attempt, but the loose puck went to Sturm for a tap-in into the open net.

Kopitar cut it to 3-2 at 15:17 on a wraparound, but 13 seconds after Los Angeles failed to convert on a power play, Joel Eriksson Ek scored into an empty net at 19:50 for the 4-2 final.

“It’s too bad we couldn’t bury a couple more,” Vilardi said. “I thought we had some really good chances and good looks out there. Yeah, it’s just one game. We got to keep going. We play tomorrow (against Arizona), big game.”

NOTES: Kaprizov’s seven power-play goals are a Minnesota rookie record. … Talbot is 5-0-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in his past six road games. … Eriksson Ek extended his point streak to four games (two goals, two assists). … Kopitar is five points away from 1,000 in the NHL. 

Video: Kaprizov’s two goals power Wild to sixth straight win

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