|LAK||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|MIN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Marian Gaborik is finally playing the way coach Jacques Lemaire knew he always could.
Gaborik had two goals and an assist - the fifth straight game in which he's scored a goal - and Pascal Dupuis added two more goals to lead the Minnesota Wild a 5-1 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
"I don't know what's pushing him, but he certainly plays a great game now," Lemaire said. "He's exactly what we always wanted him to be."
The Wild scored a franchise-record five power-play goals against the struggling Kings, who have lost six in a row, one of which came in overtime and another in a shootout.
Brian Rolston added a goal and an assist and Dupuis also had a helper for the Wild.
The Kings delivered another listless performance, committing several ill-advised penalties and failing to get any sustained pressure on Wild goalie Manny Fernandez, who had 19 saves. They entered the night in seventh place in the Western Conference with 65 points, a point ahead of Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot.
"We've got to fight through the negativity," coach Andy Murray said. "The players know there's no excuse for not playing better than we did tonight. We're not on top of our game."
Continuing an up-and-down season, the Wild have won three in a row to bounce back from a three-game losing streak and creep closer to Colorado. The win gives the Wild 60 points, one behind Anaheim for ninth in the conference, with the Avalanche coming to town Thursday night.
They are a lot better when Gaborik is playing at his best. A hip injury limited him to just three of the team's first 20 games, and he finally appears to have his legs under him.
"He's dangerous every time he steps into the offensive zone," said Lemaire, who often chides Gaborik for being a one-dimensional player but said he is playing a more balanced game now. "He's playing great at this point."
After a scoreless first period, Rolston scored just over 5:30 into the second on a power play to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. A shot from the point hit Wild center Wes Walz in front of the net, and the puck trickled to Rolston in the left circle. Rolston beat Mathieu Garon high on the glove side for his 24th goal of the season.
Dupuis scored his first goal 4 minutes later on another power play. Gaborik fired a shot from the point that was knocked down in front. Mikko Koivu managed to push the puck to Dupuis in the left circle. In a near carbon copy of Rolston's goal, Dupuis one-timed it over Garon's shoulder for a 2-0 lead with under 10 minutes to play in the period.
Murray bickered with the officials for most of the second period, getting particularly heated after defenseman Tim Gleason was called for holding when he hauled down Gaborik on a rush.
"Tonight we took some unnecessary penalties," Murray said. "Our penalty kill was not good and their power play was good."
Gaborik made it 3-0 moments later when he sneaked in the backdoor and took a beautiful pass through the crease from Todd White.
The Wild were 3-for-5 on the power play in the second period, and 5-for-10 for the game.
"That doesn't happen every day," Gaborik said. "I can feel a lot of confidence in this room right now."
Eric Belanger scored a power-play goal just over 6 minutes into the third to make it 3-1, but the Kings took three penalties in the final 12 minutes of the period that killed their chances at a comeback.
Dupuis and Gaborik scored on two of the ensuing power plays as the Wild were allowed to shoot at will on Garon, who had 21 saves.
"Everything seems to be bouncing on the other team's tape all the time, and after that it sits in your head the whole game," Belanger said. "It's frustrating."
Notes: Murray is the former coach of a prep hockey team at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault. ... Play was stopped momentarily in the first when the puck fell down Walz's breezers. Walz didn't realize it at first, then gave a little wiggle to get the puck out. ... Play was stopped for about 5 minutes in the third when Garon had to get his helmet fixed.
|PPG - Brian Rolston (24) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 MIN
|PPG - Pascal Dupuis (6) ASST: Mikko Koivu (11), Marian Gaborik (18)|
2 - 0 MIN
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (23) ASST: Todd White (15), Brian Rolston (35)|
3 - 0 MIN
|PPG - Eric Belanger (12) ASST: Nathan Dempsey (10), Mike Cammalleri (21)|
3 - 1 MIN
|PPG - Pascal Dupuis (7) ASST: Wes Walz (11), Brian Rolston (36)|
4 - 1 MIN
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (24) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (13), Kurtis Foster (11)|
5 - 1 MIN
|Derek Armstrong Hooking against Pierre-Marc Bouchard|
|Brian Rolston Hooking against Mattias Norstrom|
|Mattias Norstrom Hi-sticking against Pascal Dupuis|
|Wes Walz Holding against Craig Conroy|
|Nathan Dempsey Holding against Brian Rolston|
|Alexandre Daigle Hi-sticking against Nathan Dempsey|
|Jeremy Roenick Tripping against Daniel Tjarnqvist|
|Tim Gleason Holding against Marian Gaborik|
|Eric Belanger Hooking against Andrei Zyuzin|
|Todd White Tripping against Nathan Dempsey|
|Nathan Dempsey Cross checking against Todd White|
|Stephane Veilleux Tripping against Joe Corvo|
|Wes Walz Tripping against Dustin Brown|
|Luc Robitaille Too many men/ice - bench|
|Tim Gleason Hooking against Pascal Dupuis|
|Eric Belanger Slashing against Kyle Wanvig|
|Willie Mitchell Hooking against Mike Cammalleri|
|SA: 26||TOI: 59:40|
|Saves: 21||EV: 12 - 12|
|PIM: 0||PP: 9 - 14|
|SV%: .808||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 20||TOI: 59:25|
|Saves: 19||EV: 11 - 11|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 6|
|SV%: .950||SH: 3 - 3|