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Official Site of the Minnesota Wild
Los Angeles
Kings
27-41-14
Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8

33 SOG
23 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
LAK
MIN
game recap

Wild 4, Kings 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Associated Press

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Wild 4, Kings 1
Los Angeles Kings 1, Minnesota Wild 4

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -The Minnesota Wild rarely use the Western Conference race to gauge their performance. Jacques Lemaire will always be the judge of that.

Well, the stern coach has been finding his approval easier and easier to give.

Third-string goalie Josh Harding turned in another strong performance to help the Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Saturday night and stretch their franchise-best winning streak to nine games.

"I don't count that," Lemaire said, cracking his familiar wry smile when asked about the streak.

For Lemaire, success has always been measured by consistent, well-rounded play and maximum effort. The bonus? Minnesota sneaked past idle Vancouver into first place in the Northwest Division, though the Canucks have played two fewer games. With 97 points, the Wild established a franchise record and reached the fourth-highest total in the conference.

Brian Rolston got his team-leading 31st goal after Brent Burns scored in the first period, but before Mikko Koivu's late goal Los Angeles controlled the flow while Minnesota's skaters slowed and were bogged down by penalties.

There is always more that can be done, as anyone who has ever played for Lemaire will attest.

"The way you play the first, second and third period, I think that's more important than where we are in the standings," Koivu said.

Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who have been eliminated from the playoff chase, but entered the game having gone 4-1-1 in their previous six games. Goalie Mathieu Garon had a four-game winning streak end. He made 19 saves in a game full of yapping, scrapping and a late fight between each team's specialist - Derek Boogaard for Minnesota and Raitis Ivanans for Los Angeles.

"I thought we generated a lot," coach Marc Crawford said. "The difference in the game was their goalie was better than ours. He preserved a victory for them."

Harding, making his third start this season while Niklas Backstrom got a break, filled in seamlessly once again and improved to 3-0-1 since his promotion from the minors when original starter Manny Fernandez first sprained his left knee. In 225 minutes, Harding has given up only three goals. He made 32 saves against the Kings and was especially stout in the second period - coming up with several close saves with his team struggling.

The Wild were outshot 9-3 in the second period.

"They could have come back at any time," Lemaire said.

The 22-year-old Harding didn't let that happen, even though he acknowledged continued anxiety about taking the ice in the NHL.

"The nerves are still there. The net's shaking," he said.

Early in the third, Brown took a drop pass from Anze Kopitar and scored 14 seconds in as a power play neared expiration to make it 2-1.

Minnesota pushed back 6 1/2 minutes later when Todd White controlled a faceoff in the opponent's zone - a weakness for the Wild this season - and sent the puck in perfect position for Pierre-Marc Bouchard to wind up and shoot past Garon for a 3-1 lead.

"When you play a quality team like this you can't afford to make any mistakes," said Los Angeles rookie Patrick O'Sullivan. "The second period was good for us. We really tried to keep the puck down low, cycle, and get some shots. Harding was really good. He made the saves. That second period, I thought we'd score a couple of goals for sure."

Notes: Defenseman Rob Blake, whose free-agent signing headlined an active offseason for the Kings, has a minus-25 rating for the team that has given up the second-most goals in the league. Blake, who was scratched because of a strained neck that occurred in the first period of Friday night's win at Chicago, is day-to-day. ... Minnesota also established a franchise record by winning its 26th home game. The Wild are 26-6-4 at Xcel Energy Center. ... Brown's goal snapped an 0-for-17 streak by Los Angeles against Minnesota this season on the power play. ... O'Sullivan, who had at least one point in his seven previous games, was sent to the Kings last summer in the draft-day trade for Pavol Demitra.

scoring summary
1st Period
05:47
MIN
Brent Burns (6) ASST: Stephane Veilleux (10), Mikko Koivu (32)
1 - 0 MIN
15:37
MIN
PPG - Brian Rolston (31) ASST: Kurtis Foster (18), Marian Gaborik (22)
2 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
00:14
LAK
PPG - Dustin Brown (15) ASST: Anze Kopitar (39), Mike Cammalleri (42)
2 - 1 MIN
06:45
MIN
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (19) ASST: Todd White (29)
3 - 1 MIN
15:53
MIN
Mikko Koivu (19) ASST: Brian Rolston (31), Todd White (30)
4 - 1 MIN
penalty summary
1st Period
13:08
LAK
Jamie Lundmark  Holding the stick against  Wes Walz
15:06
LAK
Dustin Brown  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Kim Johnsson
15:16
LAK
Jaroslav Modry  Hooking against  Mark Parrish
2nd Period
05:46
MIN
Nick Schultz  Roughing against  Mike Weaver
09:59
MIN
Mikko Koivu  Hi-sticking against  Mike Weaver
15:21
LAK
Raitis Ivanans  Boarding against  Kurtis Foster
18:16
MIN
Stephane Veilleux  Charging against  Aaron Miller
3rd Period
00:53
MIN
Brent Burns  Closing hand on puck
03:19
LAK
Scott Thornton  Cross checking against  Wes Walz
03:58
LAK
Dustin Brown  Roughing against  Brian Rolston
03:58
MIN
Brian Rolston  Holding against  Dustin Brown
16:44
LAK
Raitis Ivanans  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Boogaard
16:44
MIN
Derek Boogaard  Fighting (maj) against  Raitis Ivanans
20:00
LAK
Kevin Dallman  Slashing against  Stephane Veilleux
goalie stats
Mathieu Garon
Mathieu Garon
SA: 23TOI: 59:54
Saves: 19EV: 15 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .826SH: 0 - 0
Josh Harding
SA: 33TOI: 60:00
Saves: 32EV: 22 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .970SH: 3 - 3
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