Kings jump on the Wild early, win 3-0
LOS ANGELES(Sports Network) - Justin Williams scored twice and Jonathan Bernier posted 23 saves to notch his first shutout of the season, as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Minnesota Wild, 3-0, on Thursday at Staples Center.
Jeff Carter potted the other goal for the Kings, who had lost two of their previous three, including Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss in Minnesota.
Niklas Backstrom started between the pipes for Minnesota, but allowed the only two shots he faced to find the back of the net before being removed in favor of Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 11-of-12 shots in relief.
The Wild have lost three straight and four of their last five to fall two points back of Vancouver for the top spot in the Northwest Division after the Canucks blanked Edmonton on Thursday.
Williams wasted little time extending his goal streak to five games, as the Los Angeles winger lit the lamp just 1:29 into the game when he raced down the right wing on a 2-on-1 rush before beating Backstrom with a wrister to the far side to give his team a 1-0 lead.
"When you see the puck go into the net, you feel more confident," Williams said. "We knew that they played last night and we wanted to jump on them early."
Carter then chased Backstrom from the contest on his team's next shot, as he took a nice feed from Mike Richards and slid a shot under the pads of the Minnesota netminder from the low right side to make it 2-0 at the 3:07 mark.
The Kings pushed the margin to 3-0 early in the second when Anze Kopitar's pass from his own zone sprang Williams down the right wing before he skated to the top of the right circle and rifled a blast past Kuemper at the 3:52 mark.
Bernier was tested in the third, but the Los Angeles goaltender turned away all 11 shots he faced in the frame to secure his sixth career shutout.
"They got some early breaks and then it ended up costing us," Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter stated. "We played well after that, but we have to learn from this."