LOS ANGELES – Changes were everywhere.
Crowd noise was piped in, the pregame hoopla was scaled back and both benches were scrubbed down at intermission — all adjustments the NHL has made from the last regular season to resurrect itself in individual arenas during the middle of a pandemic for a shortened, 56-game schedule.
The Wild lineup was different, too, the brainchild of General Manager Bill Guerin's offseason maneuvering.
And one of the most significant additions to the roster made an immediate impact.
Rookie Kirill Kaprizov was sensational in his NHL debut, scoring on a breakaway in overtime to cap off a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center that also included a pair of assists for the Russian winger.
"He works so hard, and so he's very deserving of everything that came his way tonight," Wild defenseman Matt Dumba said. "Yeah, he's something else."
After scooping up an errant pass, Kaprizov skated in alone on goalie Jonathan Quick and slipped the puck into the net at 3 minutes, 47 seconds — a grin spreading across his face as teammates mobbed him in celebration.
"You have no fear as a staff to put somebody on the ice that's special like that," said coach Dean Evason, who played Kaprizov the most of any forward (21:52). "It makes it a very easy decision."
Kaprizov is the first player in NHL history to have three-plus points and an overtime goal in his debut. He's also the first to score the overtime winner in his NHL debut since Calgary's Tim Sweeney on October 4, 1990.
Before that one-of-a-kind finish, Kaprizov put the Wild's rally in motion with his second smart setup of the night.
He fed Victor Rask for a shot that eluded goalie Jonathan Quick at 3:15 of the third period to cut the deficit to 3-2.
And at 9:42, the Wild pulled even on a quintessential shift by Marcus Foligno.
After a heavy hit to keep the pressure on the Kings, Foligno hustled to a bouncing puck and whacked it by Quick.
"We simplified it," Evason said. "We got pucks in."
Kaprizov was also responsible for breaking the game open after a choppy start.
After stretching out the Kings defense by patrolling the offensive blue line, Kaprizov took a pass into the zone and cut to the middle where he appeared to lose control of the puck. But that didn't hurt the Wild, since a pinching Jonas Brodin pounced on the puck and wired it past Quick at 16:06 to open the scoring.
The assist was Kaprizov's first career point, and linemate Parise scooped up the puck to preserve the memento.
That lead almost held through the period but in the waning seconds, Los Angeles tied it.
New starter Cam Talbot couldn't gobble up a rebound, and Jeff Carter poked in the loose puck with three seconds to go in the first.
The Wild had a glorious opportunity to retake the lead in the second with five power plays, but the team blanked on every chance and finished the game 0-for-6.
Instead, Los Angeles took control.
During a 4-on-4 segment in the second period, the Kings' Andreas Athanasiou tucked in a rebound after the puck first caromed off Dumba's skate to make it 2-1 at 7:12.
And then on the power play, a Dustin Brown wraparound bounced off defenseman Carson Soucy's skate and into the net at 17:05 for Brown's 300th career goal. Talbot totaled 31 saves, and Quick had 23.
Despite the hole, the Wild picked up its pace in the third — paving the way for a storybook ending to Kaprizov's introduction to the NHL.
"More than anything, you just see his competitiveness all over the ice," Dumba said. "That's what makes him so good."