Kaprizov caps big 1st period, Wild beat Kings 5-3

Published 5:31 pm Friday, January 29, 2021

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ST. PAUL — Kirill Kaprizov scored the second goal of his rookie season to cap Minnesota’s three-goal first period and the Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 on Thursday night.

Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Fiala, Nick Bjugstad and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for Minnesota, which had lost two in a row. Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves for the Wild.

“It had everything from the get-go,” Bjugstad said. “We had good energy from all around the lineup.”

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Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Alex Iafallo scored for Los Angeles in the second straight and fourth overall meeting between the two teams this season. Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots for the Kings, who lost two defensemen to scary-looking injuries.

Matt Roy left after going headfirst into the boards, and Sean Walker was hit in the face by a slap shot.

“There’s going to be lots of bad blood this season because we’re playing teams so much,” Doughty said. “In the past, I don’t think there’s a ton of bad blood with Minnesota. But, yeah, I guess tonight some of that started.”

The familiarity between the teams might be leading to some early tension. Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno and Los Angeles defenseman Kurtis MacDermid, who scored in the Kings’ 5-3 win on Tuesday, started a fight off the opening draw.

The Wild then took control.

Johansson opened the scoring just 3:33 into the first with his second goal of the season.

Los Angeles had a chance to tie it when Kahknonen was knocked out of his net as Austin Wagner and Jared Spurgeon collided with the goaltender. The Kings missed a shot on the open net and Fiala blocked a shot to spring himself for a breakaway that he snapped past Quick. It was Fiala’s third goal in four games.

Johansson then set up Kaprizov with a nifty, cross-ice pass to cap the scoring in the first.

“Well, two games ago I just thought it was our worst start probably,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Last game we felt we got taken out of the game with some penalties in the first. But I think our group from the start of the season has been ready to go right from the drop of the puck.”

Minnesota allowed Los Angeles back into the game in the second by making a series of trips to the penalty box. The Wild were called for 11 minutes worth of penalties in the first 12:09 of the period.

Fiala was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct after he pushed Roy going into the boards. Roy tried to stop and his skates went out from underneath him, causing him to go headfirst into the boards.

Roy was down for several minutes before being helped off the ice.

“It will be on multiple videos, teaching clips for young players, older players, junior players, pro players on basically what not to do,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “I feel bad for Roysie. I don’t even know if there’s any intent on the Fiala thing, it just happened. But we have to know by now that we can’t do that.”

Brown and Doughty’s goals both came on the power play.


Along with Roy leaving the game, Walker was hit in the face by Matt Dumba’s slap shot in the third. Walker dropped to the ice and left a trail of blood as he tried to skate back to the bench.

McLellan said both were being seen by doctors and he expected them to travel with the team back to Los Angeles.


Before the game, Los Angeles put forward Andreas Athanasiou on the COVID-19 protocol list. The announcement came after the team’s morning skate.

“It’s been a messed up day since minute one, to tell you the truth,” McLellan said. “I got a call at about 6:30 this morning, notified that Andreas was positive and then the whole thing kicked into play. So, our pregame skate was screwed up because there was a number of other guys through contact tracing that had to get retested. We had the taxi squad ready to go. We found out late that the players were going to be available to us.”


Wild goaltender Cam Talbot participated in the team’s morning skate, but he missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. Kahkonen started his third straight game and played in his fifth straight.


Kings: Return home and get a short break before hosting Anaheim on Feb. 2.

Wild: Host the Colorado Avalanche for two games back-to-back starting on Saturday as part of a season-long, six-game homestand.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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