Wild fall flat on their face in blowout loss to Kings

21 March 2024

Whether it was superstar winger Kirill Kaprizov hanging his head in disbelief, future Hall of Fame goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury leaving the ice in disgust, or veteran winger Marcus Foligno firing a puck into the boards in frustration, the Wild couldn’t hide their emotions during Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

In desperate need of a win to continue to their playoff push, the Wild fell flat on their face in a 6-0 loss to the Kings.

These are the types of games the Wild (34-28-8, 76 points) will lament if they’re sitting at home next month when the pursuit of the Stanley Cup begins. They had a chance to make a statement on national television with the Vegas Golden Knights (36-25-7, 79 points) sitting idle and they weren’t competitive in the slightest. It was eerily similar to last month when the Wild had a lot on the line and promptly got manhandled in a 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.

Though some might point to the fact that the Wild are devastated by injuries at the moment — captain Jared Spurgeon, top center Joel Eriksson Ek, and shutdown defenseman Jonas Brodin are all out of the lineup — there was no excusing the lack of response as the Kings took over the game.

The embarrassment started in the first period as center Phillip Danault scored on a redirection in front to make it 1-0 in favor of the Kings. That score held until winger Kevin Fiala got the best of his former team with a snipe on the power play to stretch the lead to 2-0. Not long after that, winger Viktor Arvidsson made it 3-0, getting lucky when his centering pass found its way into the back of the net.

It got worse for the Wild in the second period as they struggled to keep up with the Kings.

The game was over when defenseman Matt Roy made it 4-0 on the opening shift of the frame. After defenseman Jordan Spence stretched the lead to 5-0, center Anze Kopitar eventually finalized the score at 6-0.

It got ugly in the third period as center Ryan Hartman got into it with center Pierre-Luc Dubois. After refusing to fight Hartman, and eating a few punches anyway, Dubois took a cheap shot at defenseman Brock Faber. That sparked another scuffle with the Wild coming to Faber’s aid.

The officials started handing out game misconduct penalties in an effort to regain control as things devolved.

Now the Wild will shift their focus to Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. If the Wild don’t win that game, they can pretty much kiss any chances of making the playoffs goodbye.

There is no longer any margin for error with this group. Not after what their latest blowout loss.

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