Wild's road trip turns even uglier in loss to Kings

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 2011 - 1:35 AM

Los Angeles easily dominated Minnesota, which lacked energy and discipline in a bruising loss.

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Members of the Kings poked Wild center Warren Peters, left, in the face with sticks after he shoved Los Angeles' Alec Martinez face-first into the boards during the first period Saturday night.

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES - The Wild's Mike Yeo, the NHL's youngest coach at age 38, coached his 16th game Saturday night. The Los Angeles Kings' Terry Murray, the NHL's oldest at 61, coached his 1,000th.

Murray began his NHL head-coaching career in 1990.

It's safe to say Murray hasn't had many easier victories and Yeo better pray he doesn't have many uglier ones than the Wild's unsightly performance at the Staples Center.

The Kings made quick, dirty and painful work of the Wild during a 5-2 waxing.

The Wild lacked energy, smarts, discipline and, as usual, offense. The league's second-best defensive team couldn't defend, either, as the Kings spent an unconscionable amount of time waltzing around the Wild zone.

"They should be embarrassed," Yeo said of his players. "I'm embarrassed."

Cal Clutterbuck and Darroll Powe scored third-period goals with the Kings trying to preserve a 5-0 lead and the game over everywhere but the scoreboard. When the game mattered, the Wild generated almost no sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

Josh Harding's four-game win streak came to a throbbing end. He was chased from the net after the Kings' fourth goal and 21st shot at 11 minutes, 44 seconds of the second period -- the Wild's third of four goals allowed in the period.

The Wild bench was one depressing scene as Niklas Backstrom took the cage. Players sat with heads down, both assistants stood with arms crossed and Yeo looked up and down his hapless bench.

But there would be no response. The loss was the Wild's second in a row in regulation for the first time this season. It better lick its wounds quick: The Wild visits Anaheim on Sunday night with a chance to even its road trip at 2-2.

Already shorthanded on the back end without injured Clayton Stoner, Mike Lundin and Greg Zanon, the Wild lost rookie Marco Scandella less than seven minutes into the game after his fourth shift. He appeared to suffer a head injury.

If he is unable to play and if Stoner can't return from a finger injury, the Wild will have to look toward Houston.

Talking the talk before the game that it needed to stop taking penalties, the Wild took three in the first period.

Brad Staubitz high-sticked Trent Hunter blatantly in the neutral zone. Devin Setoguchi hooked Drew Doughty 180 feet from his own net. And likewise, Warren Peters was called for a boarding major on Alec Martinez in the offensive zone.

The Wild felt Peters' major was undeserved, and to add insult to injury, it was Martinez who extended the Kings' 1-0 lead to two when the Wild was 38 seconds from killing off the 5-minute power play.

Every time the Wild played the puck, it was to chip it out of the defensive zone so it could go for a line change. That's how much time Minnesota spent trying to defend the Kings' big forwards' efficient cycles down low.

The Wild didn't register its first shot of the game until 11 1/2 minutes in on a Pierre-Marc Bouchard shot.

Things turned from bad to dreadful 4:49 after Martinez's goal. After Bouchard was robbed by Jonathan Quick, captain Dustin Brown took off the other way and used and abused Marek Zidlicky on an attempted hip check.

Brown drove the net and scored off his own rebound. Less than five minutes later, Simon Gagne made it 4-0.

Matt Greene welcomed Backstrom to the game 2 1/2 minutes later, and the bruised and battered Wild was left to limp out of the arena and head 45 minutes south to Anaheim -- presumably by bus and not ambulance.

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