LOS ANGELES – Given a second chance, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk wouldn’t jab his stick into the cross-ice pass and watch the puck bounce off defenseman Jonas Brodin’s skate and roll behind him into the net.
“I’d do that one over if I could,” he said.
But even if the fluky goal — which emerged as the game-winner — didn’t happen, a rally by the Kings seemed inevitable amid a third-period push that saw Los Angeles rattle off four answered goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Wild on Tuesday night in front of 18,230 at Staples Center.
“They start coming hard, and that’s a good hockey team,” Dubnyk said. “It’s tough to weather that at the best of times, but you gotta try to take advantage when you’re in a good spot.”
That’s where the Wild found itself after two periods.
It had built a 2-1 lead and although the action was mostly sleepy through the first period with the Kings returning home after a long road trip and the Wild beginning a three-game swing through California, the lull seemed to suit the team. Winger Chris Stewart, who earlier in the game fought defenseman Kurtis MacDermid in a spirited slugfest that traveled around the Kings zone, fed center Charlie Coyle for a redirect in front 10 minutes, 30 seconds into the second to extend Coyle’s point streak to five games.
Los Angeles responded shortly after, tying it on a heavy slapshot from defenseman Jake Muzzin at 14:24. But only 1:10 later, the Wild received another helping of secondary scoring to reinstate its lead.
This time, winger Tyler Ennis put back his own rebound by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick after a wraparound attempt for his fifth goal of the season.
“We played the way we were supposed to,” Ennis said. “We got it behind them. We cycled really well, got pucks to the net and worked them down low. That’s how you gotta play against them, but we got away from it in the third and it cost us.”
An odd-man rush led by two of the Kings’ most talented forwards, captain Anze Kopitar and winger Marian Gaborik, started the comeback that secured Los Angeles’ sixth consecutive victory.
With defenseman Matt Dumba caught in the offensive zone, Kopitar set up Gaborik 4:35 into the third.
“That puts us on our heels,” said Dubnyk, who had 23 saves compared to 19 for Quick. “That’s not how we want to come out when we’re winning a game on the road.”
The throw to the middle by winger Adrian Kempe that caromed off Brodin and into the net at 12:38 broke the 2-2 tie, and Gaborik — the Wild’s career leader in goals — added an insurance marker 1:22 later for career goal No.400 on a shot that clipped Dumba’s stick before flying by Dubnyk.
“When they put their push on, we just didn’t do anything about it,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Kopitar buried a power-play empty-netter with 56 seconds remaining; the Kings went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Wild was 0-for-1 in the team’s first regulation loss this season when leading after two periods.
“They don’t have that self-confidence that I think that we had last year,” Boudreau said. “Our third periods, we knew we were going to win. Now I think because every game has been a battle, every game has been nip and tuck, that they maybe aren’t as confident as they should be.”