LOS ANGELES – Wild winger Marcus Foligno hauled his hockey bag out of the visiting quarters at Staples Center and then posted up in the hallway.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon waited nearby for his turn to recap the team’s 7-3 setback to the Kings, standing next to a stick rack just off the tunnel that leads to the ice.
The Wild closed its locker room to media Saturday at Staples Center, getting a jump on a policy the NHL is expected to formally announce Monday at the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Until this game, the Wild — like the rest of the teams in the league — typically held its postgame access for players in its dressing room, with players answering questions at or near their stalls.
This change came on the heels of the Wild playing in San Jose on Thursday despite the Public Health Department in Santa Clara County, where the Sharks play, recommending the postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings and large community events.
The Kings threw water on the Wild’s comeback attempt late in the third, scoring three goals in 1 minute, 13 seconds after the Wild had pulled within a goal to make it 4-3.
But the Wild had to put on a heavy push in the final period because of two miscues in the second.
On its second power play and after tying the game at 1, the Wild gave up its sixth shorthanded goal of the season — a 2-on-1 finish by Lindstrom native and former St. Cloud State player Blake Lizotte after an Alex Galchenyuk turnover.
Only 53 seconds later, the Kings doubled their lead on a breakaway goal by Trevor Moore. He picked the puck off defenseman Brad Hunt, who had retrieved it after a bobble by Galchenyuk.
“I didn’t want to give them the puck, but it happened,” Galchenyuk said. “It was definitely something I wasn’t focused on making, but it turned out that way. I’ll look at some video and bounce back.”
Stalock tried to impede Moore’s breakaway attempt with a poke check, but Moore eluded the challenge and lifted the puck over a sprawled Stalock.
“You commit to a play like that early,” said Stalock, who finished with 28 saves while suffering just his third regulation loss in his past 13 starts. “You know he’s coming in from that side. I don’t use the poke check a ton, but I kind of decided on it early. We had a D-man that was coming down the middle, so he couldn’t really go far side, so I was kind of cutting him off. But he made a good read and put it up top.”
Between the pipes
Stalock’s start Saturday was his seventh in a row, tying his career-long run from Dec. 14-27, 2017 — also with the Wild. But he could get a break Sunday when the team wraps up this three-game road trip in Anaheim.
After the loss to the Kings, interim coach Dean Evason said he would consider giving Devan Dubnyk the nod in net against the Ducks.
Dubnyk, who’s been shifted to the backup role lately while the Wild has relied on Stalock during his productive stretch, last played Feb. 23 in a 4-1 loss at home to St. Louis. Before that, he was victorious in a 4-3 shootout win in Vancouver on Feb. 19.
Center Eric Staal missed a second straight game Saturday after not traveling with the Wild to California following a death in his family. Staal won’t be in Anaheim for the trip finale.