The Los Angeles Kings met with the Minnesota Wild for the first time since Oct. 16th and earned their first win against them of the 2021-22 campaign.
Last night’s game was a tight match-up between the LA Kings and Minnesota Wild and was low-scoring for the entirety of the game, despite lots of scoring chances on both ends.
MIN – Foligno (12), Assists: Dumba (11), Fiala (14)
LAK – Danault (4), Assists: Doughty (10)
LAK – Lemieux (5), Assists: Moore (3), Grundstrom (2)
Shots on Goal:
Faceoff Percentage (%):
Three things that stood out:
1. Sean Durzi is the real deal
One glaringly apparent detail in last night’s win was how Sean Durzi had established himself as an NHLer on the Kings’ blueline. Since being called up to the big league, the 23-year-old defenseman had one of his best performances.
Durzi’s biggest asset is his explosive skating. You can see his potential to become a top-notch power play quarterback in his prime. He had tons of great zone entries throughout the game, and he drives play extremely well for a rookie defenseman. He’s so fun to watch, and he may even see a bigger role depending on how long Alexander Edler is out with a lower-body injury.
Durzi led all Kings defensemen in expected goals percentage (xG%), with 86.94% at even-strength. He was elite offensively while also offering minimal chances to the Wild when he was on the ice. He finished the night with four shots on goal, one hit, and one block through 17:45.
2. The Kings should brace for life without Edler
Alexander Edler sustained a bad injury early in the first period and couldn’t put any weight on his left foot after getting slammed into the boards by Brandon Duhaime. At first glance, it looked like it could’ve been a shoulder injury, but when you saw him unable to get up or stand on his leg, it was apparent that it was a far worse lower-body injury.
@LAKings defenseman Alex Edler suffered a lower-body injury during the first period and will not return to tonight's game.
— LA Kings PR (@LAKingsPR) December 12, 2021
Edler has been a catalyst on the Kings’ blueline this season, so losing him, especially long-term will hurt the team. He ranks second on the team in defensemen points, with one goal and 11 points through 25 games played, ranking only behind Doughty. His impact has been much greater than what was expected when the team brought him to Los Angeles in free agency.
With Kale Clague being claimed by the Montreal Canadiens, the Kings aren’t left with too many options. It looks like we may have to see Olli Maatta return to the lineup. He has two assists through 15 games played and is a sizable downgrade from Edler.
3. Stop the rotation; Quick’s the man
It’s time. I know we love Cal Petersen, but it’s time.
Quick was incredible last night and has been all season. He was snubbed from the Pacific Division potential captains list for the 2022 All-Star Game, but thankfully it didn’t take him too long to make sure the league was aware of their mistake.
Quick stopped 30 of 31 shots last night, good for a .968 save percentage, and had 3.37 goals saved above expected. He was crucial to the team late when the Wild swarmed the crease, but he miraculously managed to keep all of their chances out.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) December 12, 2021
It’s time to stop the rotation. Quick is a Vezina candidate as of right now, pushing for an Olympic spot in Beijing (if they do go), and will also be in contention for an All-Star selection. It’s been a great story to follow watching the amazing bounce back that he has had.
With this win, the Kings improve to 12-10-4 on the season and travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.