Minnesota Gets Wild on the Kings
With the Anaheim Ducks clinching the two-seed with their 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers last night, the best seed the Kings could hope for was a four-seed. In order for that to happen the Kings would have to beat the Minnesota Wild in any fashion, St. Louis loses in any fashion to Colorado and San Jose loses in regulation to Dallas. It turned out none of that mattered.
The Wild beat the Kings 2-1 to get the crucial two points to keep their playoff hopes alive.
After the Kings got off to a good start, the Wild started to dictate play after halfway through the first period. For five minutes they controlled the puck except for the couple of seconds Jeff Carter intercepted a pass and had a breakwaway chance saved. The Wild took the puck the other way, the initial shot fluttering up in the air behind the net after Jonathan Bernier made the save. Zack Parise got the puck to Charlie Coyle who gave the Wild the 1-0 lead.
The Wild then payed back a favor to the Kings. When the two last met at STAPLES Center on Apr. 4, the Kings scored twice in the first three minutes of the game knocking out Niklas Backstrom from the game. The Wild one-upped the Kings. Although it didn't happen at the start of the game, the Wild did get the second goal only 16 seconds after Coyle's goal — a bad-angle shot by Cal Clutterbuck that went top shelf over Bernier.
After a back-and-forth second period, Jeff Carter got the Kings back in the game in the final second, a shot from the slot that befuddled Backstrom.
From there the Kings tried to get back into the game including some great chances after they pulled Bernier in the final minute.
Bernier made 23 saves while Backstrom made 22.
So the Kings didn't clinch a four- or a five-seed. We know they have clinched no worse than a six-seed which would pit them against Vancouver again.
Update: The Kings can clinch a five-seed if they beat Detroit tomorrow in any fashion and San Jose loses to Phoenix in regulation.