Kirill Kaprizov ejected as Wild get shut out by Kings
Everything changed with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second period
LOS ANGELES — There wasn’t much energy in the early stages of Thursday’s game between the Minnesota Wild and the Kings. Neither team generated many scoring chances and the home crowd in Los Angeles seemed rather disinterested for prolonged stretches.
Everything changed with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second period.
After absorbing multiple crosschecks behind the net, Kirill Kaprizov let his frustration get the best of him, chopping his stick at Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. In the process, Kaprizov’s stick appeared to make contact with Doughty’s face, which prompted a lengthy review.
Ultimately, the officials assessed Kaprizov a match penalty, and Doughty waved goodbye as he left the game. In response to the match penalty, Kaprizov is suspended pending a review from the NHL Department of Player Safety to determine if further discipline is necessary. That means there’s a chance Kaprizov could miss Wednesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Luckily for the Wild, they stepped up big time on the extended penalty kill with Marc-Andre Fleury standing on his head in the crease, and Jared Spurgeon sacrificing his body with a couple of blocked shots.
That set the stage for the final 20 minutes of play where the Wild were forced to play shorthanded with Kaprizov out of the game. That ended up making a big difference as the Wild suffered a frustrating 1-0 loss to the Kings.
It’s the second straight game that the Wild have been shut out by an opposing team. That stretches the scoreless streak to exactly 123 minutes, 8 seconds. The last goal for the Wild came from winger Matt Boldy late in the Nov. 1 win over Montreal.
As for Tuesday’s game, both teams went back-and-forth for much of the final frame before Kings winger Gabe Vilardi made it 1-0. That stood up as the game-winner with the Wild unable to muster any sort of offense down the stretch.
Now the Wild will immediately shift their focus to Wednesday’s game against the Ducks. That will be the next chance to rinse the sour taste out of their mouth.
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