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Video: Wild earn ‘impressive character win’ over Kings

Apr 1, 2014, 2:00 AM EDT

Minnesota Wild v Los Angeles Kings Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild moved closer toward securing a playoff spot in the Western Conference with a victory over the red-hot L.A. Kings on Monday.

The Wild trailed going into the third period, but got goals from Matt Moulson and Mikko Koivu one minute and two seconds apart to defeat the Kings by a final score of 3-2 and stop L.A.’s winning streak at six games.

The Wild, who during the game announced the signing of college free agent defenseman Christian Folin, remain in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but move five points up on the eighth-place Phoenix Coyotes.

The game featured a pair of controversial open-ice hits by Kings’ defenseman Jake Muzzin (click here to see his hit on Nino Niederreiter in the first period and click here to see his hit on Jason Pominville in the second period).

Muzzin’s hit on Pominville drew a response from Moulson, who grabbed the L.A. blue liner and tossed him to the ice. Moulson received four minutes for roughing, and Muzzin a minor for roughing.

“It was a real impressive character win as far as I’m concerned,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo, as per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.

It wasn’t all good news for the Wild, however. Niederreiter left the game in the first period after the Muzzin hit and did not return. Forward Mikael Granlund also left the game after the second period.

According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, both players suffered upper-body injuries appearing to be to the head.

  1. strictlythedanks - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:20 AM

    Good game. Speed and a strong forecheck from the Wild took its toll on the kings.

  2. mp1131211 - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:20 AM

    If Granlund is suffering his second concussion this year, that kid is going to have a short NHL career. He’s got to be more careful in the neutral zone.

  3. areaman714 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:19 AM

    Good road victory Wild. You have figured out the formula. Score three goals against the Kings and you have a 90 percent probability of winning.

    • machosasquatcho - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Fascinating insight, blobfeld.

      • areaman714 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Do not insult me you douche. I am not Blomfeld. Again, you douche.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        Hey, areaman714. Welcome to my world.

  4. slickvb82 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:40 AM

    Good win for the Wild! However I’m nervous about the Granlund/Nino situation. We need both to have any hopes of competing in the first round.

    With that, if Yeo takes Coyle and moves him back to center I’m going to be pissed. MN fans wonder why his game is on and off, well the poor kid is all over the place. Haula and Fontaine will need to step up. Both have played well this year but we’ll need more in the coming couple weeks.

  5. Professor Fate - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Hey, look! A story about the Kings on PHT! Oh, it’s because they lost. Never mind.

  6. nhbsfan - Apr 1, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Hopefully Blom is freaking out in his padded cell and not harming himself while he rages to obscure YouTube videos of Elvis.

    • blomfeld - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING ?

      Like with anything in life, too much of a good thing can often be detrimental and ‘continuous’ victory in the NHL is no exception. Therefore last night’s loss to the ‘plucky & hardworking’ Wild probably comes at the perfect time for us. In fact, one could almost liken it to a ‘cold slap’ in the face, which was probably necessary in-order to deter us from any ‘potential’ harm of being seduced by vanity and/or pride. Nonetheless friends, we’re right back at it again tomorrow night when we face Bettman’s ‘desert experiment’ … and man are we ever going to teach these people a lesson eh ? :)

      GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      *** earlier this morning at a sporting goods store here in town ***

      Nhbsfan: good morning asshole ! … do you by any chance sell sports stuff here ?

      Blomfeld: reckon we do …

      Nhbsfan: good, cause I want a Minnesota Wild brassiere right now !

      Blomfeld: here you go …

      Nhbsfan: here you go what ?

      Blomfeld: here you go my ‘fist’ asshole ! … KAPOW !! .. KABOOM !! .. KAZAAM !!

      • tved12 - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        I’m a Wild fan and usually your comments drive me nuts. But the end of this post, you’re story about the sporting goods store, I loved it.

      • strictlythedanks - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        based on a true story

  7. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Big, big come back win.
    Losing those two, especially Granny, would be a bitter, huge, awkwardly-shaped pill to swallow. Granny has, for much of the season, been the Wild’s most dynamic forward.
    As for Moulson? That’s a huge play and exactly what the Wild needs to see from its veteran leaders. I love what he has brought to the team. He will only get better with time as chemistry develops. Hope they sign him to a nice extension. He would be a better (and cheaper) long term add than Vanek.

    • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      It likely won’t have to be one or the other. Backstrom and Heatley will come off the books and the CAP will increase next season. Stoner is probably gone and unfortunately Harding may be all done, as well… They’ll have money.

      I’m guessing Moulson if offered a 4 year deal and he has said how much he feels he has immediately fit in here. Odds are he stays. Vanek is a different type of player who could also fit in very well. Pure goal scorer who just plain knows open ice.

      Vanek-Granny-Poms would be your dynamo #1. The chemistry of the line would be off the charts. Moulson-Coyle-Parise . If Moulson can bring his game to the off-wing on the right side–that’s back-to-back shifts with no drop-off in scoring ability. Those are your two top 1A and 1B lines and with solid goaltending–that’s western conference finals material right there.

      • cmmorgan32 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        Unless I missed something, Backstrom doesn’t come off of the books until AFTER 2015-16 or longer if they decide to buyout his contract.

  8. purpleguy - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Granlund can’t lead with his noggin while checking for cripes sake. No big loss with the way Nino’s been playing, but losing Granlund for any stretch will be tough.

    • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Nino is one of those players who needs have the confidence of the coaching staff/team in order to succeed. You drop him to the 4th line and it doesn’t motivate him to move back up–it just demoralizes him further that he’s there. He needs a sit-down to shore up his confidence and they need to back it up by moving him up the depth chart. They’ll need him.

  9. clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Wait! But I thought the Wild always collapse when crunch time hits and the coach is horrible and needs to be fired. Where’s that crew of off-season viqueens fans? LOL.

    Two HUGE games against two quality opponents ON THE ROAD that the Wild HAD to have and how did they respond? Yeah– just plain REFUSED to lose. This team is evolving and bringing it where they need to go to be successful on the next level. No–there’ll be no cup this year…they may not even make it past the first round given the draw (Blues/Ducks) they’ll get–and of course the whiners will be out in full force with their torches and their ropes calling for Yeo’s head…but he won’t be going anywhere. Fletcher is no dummy.

    • tved12 - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      I agree Clarke, MN sports fans are too quick to throw in the towel. I think Yeo has done a great job, this team is giving up what, 20 shots a game? I think they’re playing great fundamental defense, they just need to stop making the bone headed mistakes now.

      I will admit though, it would be nice to see them win games by more than a goal once in a while. I’m only 25 but if this keeps up I’m not going to have much hair by 30!

      • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Yup–they still lack another marquis goal-scorer and at least one more top 4 D-man…

        What’s interesting with much of the Wild fan base–is you’d think they’d be more knowledgeable about what it takes to succeed in the game and if it isn’t succeeding–why?

        Every challenging period this team has gone through this season has been produced by a combination of two things, for example.

        One: Needing another legit goal-scorer
        Two: Poor goaltending

        The bottom line is–this team is still a player away from scoring enough goals consistently to be able to overcome anything less than solid goaltending. The slump earlier in the year was as a result of Harding exiting and Backstrom not getting the job done until finally Kuemper brought the goaltending back up. The recent mini-slump resulted from Kuemper’s play dropping off and making the resulting transition to Bryz. It wasn’t the coaches fault. It wasn’t because of some evil karma that makes the Wild collapse at the end of every season. Merely a challenge that all teams who want to become among the elite must rise to–and the Wild so far have…and not just the goaltending challenges… Many teams would have folded if they lost their Parise and Koivu for so many games over the same period. The Wild stepped it up and overcame. That’s coaching. That’s leadership… Yet–lose a couple of games against the league’s elite–and guess what? Yeah–fire the head coach… That’s the ticket! A bunch of dolts who have no clue what it takes to succeed in a game as hard as hockey.

      • tved12 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Then again, Minnesota is the land of “Get rid of anybody we don’t like, ASAP”

        Not just in hockey, you name the sport and people are calling for the head of some of our best players. It’s insane how quick the bandwagon fans here overreact.

        I’m also a St. Louis Cardinals fan and you just don’t see it like you do here. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard their fans boo their own player/coach/team. Wish I could say the same for MN.

      • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 8:24 PM

        …it’s the Viqueen trophy case, tved… Think about it… It’s got, what–a whizzinator, a double-headed dil*o and a pack a wet wipes from the Love Boat along with one of Brad Childress’ favorite wigs. That could make anyone impatient for something to be proud of… LOL

      • tved12 - Apr 2, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Lol, I can understand that. I’m not the most patient person either, but I just try to look at things realistically before I set my expectations. I just think of all the Twins fans around here who expect them to be a playoff team this year. Its like, “Really?…. Really? Come on people!”

        On a side note, I live like a block from where the “Love Boat” took off. I think about it every morning when I drive past there.

    • guitarhunterdude - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Over the season as a whole, this team has underperformed, and I’d put quite a bit of the blame for that on Yeo. In particular I’m thinking of the stretches from mid-November through December, and the month of March. Both are periods when the team was thoroughly dominated in possession (and lost games, too) despite being pretty healthy during that span. It’s not the end of season collapse that had me worried (that’s just icing on the cake), it’s the way they’ve largely been outplayed from October ’til now, and continue to generate offense like a lottery team. I won’t count January or February against Yeo, since we were missing our two best forwards, but this team has the talent to play better than they have this year, and it seems to me like Mike Yeo is a big part of why they’ve underperformed. Keep him on through the playoffs, but if we could get Laviolette this offseason, I’d bring him in. He’s got a good track record with good underlying numbers, and he’d be a nice departure from the grinder mentality that’s rampant in the Wild organization.

      As for the blowing-up-the team crap I (and maybe a few others) was spouting after the Blues loss, you have every right to laugh at that.

      • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        Thank you for the concession on the overreaction…

        I think your expectations are what is getting in the way of your seeing how skillfully Yeo has generally handed this evolving team. You have to remember–just a couple of short years ago–this team stunk. The roster has pretty much completely turned over–and it takes time to build that chemistry and other intangibles that you dig down deep to rely upon when the heat turns up in the springtime… It doesn’t just happen overnight–even once you finally do secure all the pieces you need to complete the puzzle…

        Every adversity this team has faced this season–they have responded with character. That lead comes DIRECTLY through the head coach. I can guarantee you one thing. The Wild could lose every remaining game and miss the playoffs–and Fletcher doesn’t think twice about retaining Yeo

        Look harder… This team is moving to the next level–and that doesn’t happen without a head coach who knows how to lead you there…

  10. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Well deserved and hard fought win!! They played good 2nd and third period just need to start strong. Let’s keep it rollin boys!!! GO WILD!!!!

  11. aldog83 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    This is worries me with KINGS playing 2-1 games every night.

    Since it is rare that the KINGS win games by 2-3 goals.

    They are susceptible to these to a couple of bang bang plays putting them behind and pressing late in a loss.

    The Ducks came back from 4-0 (so much scoring depth from that team.)

    Anyways LOVE the KINGS and hope they can get this right for another deep playoff run!

    Another one of them “Cup” things would be mighty nice eh!

    GKG!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    @clarke16…..u seem to know everything about hockey and Minnesotas fan base! Wow, quite a hockey mind to come up with poor goal tending and needing another goal scorer! U didn’t mention Koivu in your first or second line? U must be a Koivu hater and seemed to forget he is a great two way player, and in no way should the wild trade him. He definately belongs on the first or second line. Anyway, u know it all so that’s just my opinion. GO WILD!!!

    • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      …it’s okay, son. You just do your best to keep listening and learning and maybe–just MAYBE somebody you’ll be able to apply enough leverage to break the vacuum, pull it out and indeed see what it’s like for the rest of us who don’t find it necessary to breathe the air stored up our a$$es… :)

  13. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Oh yea, KINGS suck!!

  14. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    The issue with Vanek is that he will be looking for a BIG payday. Big money and a long contract. There are more than a few folks out there that are already questioning how much he’s got left as well as his work ethic. If the Wild pays him what may well be required, we could be looking at a heatley type scenario in the near future: an ineffective player whose scoring touch is long gone but is still locked into a contract that pays him based on history. The wild have some nice young talent they need to allow to develop to go with the vets. Vanek may well stand in the way of those young guys reaching their potential.
    That’s not to say I will be turning in the Christmas sweater for Winnipeg blue if they sign him, I just hope they don’t mortgage their future to make it happen.
    And yes, they desperately need to address the goaltending situation this offseason. Bryz looks good now, though and hopefully kuemper can get back on track.

    • clarke16 - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      I’m not sure your line on what Vanek is all about rings true, Nico… People seem to have formed this impression that he is a self-serving “anti-team” player. He’s not. In fact–as Pommer will tell you, quite the opposite. If it were all about money–he would have jumped all over the Snowman’s cash on the island. He realizes that his next stop will be his last within that precious band of “prime” within his career–so he doesn’t want it wasted for any amount of $$$$. That means no rebuilding in Buffalo…no mediocrity of the NYI and no chance for any of the many other team’s similarly situated. He’s admitted that he may not see an offer like what he turned down from the Isles–and accepts that. He wants to be with a building team that can position itself to compete for the cup. Fans can blame him and call him selfish for that–but I don’t. It’s just what I’d do, in fact.

      I’d love to see him come to the Wild. he’s FAR from over…and just the type of missing piece they so need to complete the puzzle…

      Remember–there’s a REASON why Fletcher targeted him last year. My guess is they already have an informal “off the record” agreement in place with him… $6.5-7.0M per over four years is about what I’d guess… The guy is part-owner in an arena here for God’s sake and Pommer is supposedly his best friend in the league. I’m guessing he plans on doing some skating there, eh? ;)

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