LOS ANGELES – Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was focused on returning to the Twin Cities with a souvenir from the four-game, 10-day road trip that his team didn’t have at the outset.
“I was so counting on winning [Tuesday],” Boudreau said.
But the Wild will travel Wednesday in a similar up-and-down state that it was in when it began this trek more than a week ago because instead of coming home 3-1, it dropped to 2-2 after a 3-1 loss to the Kings at Staples Center.
The opportunity to snag three out of four games was there, though, especially against a Kings squad that has struggled just as much as the Wild.
After falling behind early in the first period, the Wild had three power plays to overcome a one-goal deficit but whiffed on each of them.
Not only that, but the chances were some of the worst stretches by the team – opportunities that did close to nothing for the team’s mojo.
“The thing about the power play, no matter what happens, you've got to do two things,” Boudreau said. “You've got to execute, and you've got to outwork the opposition. And I didn't think we did either. And when you don't do that, you certainly don't get success.”
The Wild had 28 shots on goal and another 30 attempts that were blocked or missed the net, typically enough chances to squeeze out more than one goal.
But where the team didn’t generate any looks was when it pulled goalie Devan Dubnyk to gain an extra attacker with less than two minutes to go in the third period, another missed opportunity that included a three defensemen setup for the Wild.
Los Angeles would go on to score into an empty net.
“We wanted [Brad] Hunt to go out there,” Boudreau said. “We did. I should've called a timeout, and I didn't because we were fresh going out there and they weren't. Hindsight is 20/20, but I should've called a timeout and gotten everybody straight on the same page.”
The first two goals by the Kings came off faceoff wins in the offensive zone, breakdowns that stood out to Boudreau.
“I can't remember the last time we've had faceoff goals against us for making the wrong decision off of a faceoff,” he said. “The guys get back to the point and shoot it and score, and sometimes it's a great shot. But that was just basic stuff that we've done all year and for the last few years, and we didn't do it today and it cost us two goals.”
Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored the first one, shooting in a loose puck that Dubnyk appeared to have covered but didn’t ultimately have control of completely.
“It could trickle behind me and I could just sit there and do nothing and then they whack it in,” Dubnyk said. “It was just one of those feeler plays where it didn’t feel like I got a ton of it, so I just wanted to try to lay back.”