LOS ANGELES – Ryan Hartman had his first NHL goal disallowed.
The play was offside, at Xcel Energy Center of all places.
"I remember that feeling," said Hartman, who broke into the league with the Blackhawks.
Wild rookie Brandon Duhaime was in the same situation Saturday night, having his first career goal reversed by a coach's challenge, but Hartman quickly followed up the letdown with a celebration that counted – and one that ultimately was the difference in a 3-2 win for the Wild against the Kings at Staples Center that sealed a sweep on the team's season-opening road trip.
"We got four points," Hartman said, "and that was our goal."
After battling with Los Angeles' Drew Doughty during the shift, Hartman broke free and reeled in a Marcus Foligno pass before roofing the puck over Kings goalie Jonathan Quick 16 minutes, 52 seconds into the second period to put the Wild ahead 3-1.
"That's the type of hockey our line, especially, but our team brings," said Hartman, who pumped his arms after scoring. "That energy and that excitement kind of boiled over."
On the previous shift, Duhaime almost doubled the Wild's lead when he pushed the puck behind Quick. But Los Angeles challenged, and a lengthy video review determined Duhaime pushed Quick's pad which caused the puck to roll into the net.
"You get up and you get all excited and you got to wait," Hartman said. "Obviously, they took a while to decide, but he's gonna get it. He's been playing great, and he's all around that net. He had a fair share of them tonight, as well, so it's only a matter of time."
A fortuitous bounce in the third period, an Anze Kopitar shot that caromed off Matt Dumba's skate and behind goalie Cam Talbot at 7:28, called for a photo finish. But the Wild held off the Kings the rest of the way to return to Xcel Energy Center for its home opener on Tuesday vs. Winnipeg a perfect 2-0.
"We praised the group after about our composure," coach Dean Evason said. "We didn't panic."
The same happened earlier in the game when the Wild rebounded after falling behind to Los Angeles on a power play goal from Viktor Arvidsson 5:23 into the second. Overall, the Kings went 1-for-4 and the Wild was 0-for-1.
Only 54 seconds after Arvidsson's goal, the Wild answered back on a one-timer from Frederick Gaudreau set up by Kevin Fiala, who registered his 200th point with the assist. The goal was Gaudreau's first with the Wild since coming over as a free agent in the offseason.
"It was a good feeling to get that first one," he said.
Then, at 11:55, Victor Rask took a shift with Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello following a Wild penalty kill and the line delivered – an effort reminiscent of last season when the three frequently played together. Kaprizov fed the puck to Rask, and he wired it by Quick, who finished with 27 saves. Talbot, who also played Friday in the 2-1 win at Anaheim, picked up 29.
Joel Eriksson Ek, who's centering Kaprizov and Zuccarello this season, had just worked the PK and the Wild wanted to give him a chance to catch his breath. So, Rask subbed into his spot.
"Rasky played with those two guys," Evason said. "So, you're not afraid to do it."
Next came Duhaime's non-goal, but the Wild didn't sag in the aftermath.
Instead, the team unearthed another goal that ended up being the one it needed to stave off Los Angeles.
"I think Moose [Foligno] said something like, 'No matter what we're playing good right now. Let's just keep going,'" Evason said. "It's sure nice when the players talk like that and the coaches don't have to."