Anze Kopitar scores his 1,200th point while leading the Kings’ 6-0 thrashing of the Wild

Published 7:01 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist while recording his 1,200th career point, David Rittich made 30 saves in his third shutout of the season, and the Los Angeles Kings routed the Minnesota Wild 6-0 on Wednesday night.

Viktor Arvidsson had his first goal of the season and an assist in his return from a monthlong injury absence. Kevin Fiala and Phillip Danault also had a goal and an assist as the Kings wrapped up back-to-back home victories by a combined 12-2 over the past two days.

Matt Roy and Jordan Spence also scored for LA, while Rittich was solid in the backup goalie’s seventh career shutout and third in his last 10 starts.

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“We got a little lucky with some posts and crossbars, and David made some really good saves,” Kings coach Jim Hiller said. “That game could have been a lot closer than it was. If it was 3-2 or 4-3, we would have liked it just as well. We had a little luck on our side and it didn’t get close, but I thought we played pretty well start to finish.”

The 36-year-old Kopitar became the 52nd player in NHL history to score 1,200 points when he got the primary assist on Fiala’s goal in the first period. Kopitar added a power-play goal late in the second, passing Dino Ciccarelli for 51st on the career scoring list.

The Slovenian center has spent his entire 18-season career in Los Angeles. According to the NHL, Kopitar is the fourth player in league history born outside North America to score 1,200 points with one team, joining Alex Ovechkin, Stan Mikita and Evgeni Malkin.

“Obviously, been amazing to play with him, to get to play with him and see him break all these records,” said Trevor Moore, who had two assists. “It feels like every night we got something new, so to be a small part of that and be able to have those memories is really cool.”

Marc-Andre Fleury faced only 16 shots before Filip Gustavsson replaced him in the second period with Minnesota down 5-0. Fleury’s teammates deflected two of the goals past him in a comprehensively ugly effort by the Wild, who came in with an eight-game points streak after beating Anaheim 4-0 a night earlier for their sixth win in those eight games.

Top defenseman Jonas Brodin sat out with a lower-body injury incurred during the win in Anaheim as the Wild finished their three-game road trip at 1-1-1. They were after being shut out for the fourth time this season, but only the first since Jan. 13, when Arizona beat them 6-0.

Minnesota also missed the chance to gain ground on Los Angeles, which moved seven points ahead of the Wild in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Wild are three points out of the final wild-card spot behind Vegas, which now has two games in hand.

“To be honest with you, we didn’t play a bad game,” Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello said. “It’s just one of those games where you feel like every bounce, every puck goes the other way. … That’s hockey sometimes. I think the score lies a little bit about how the game was.”

Los Angeles went ahead five minutes in when Danault scored his 17th goal on an alert deflection. Fiala, who forced a Wild turnover to set up Danault, then roofed a shot from the slot against his former team during a power play for his 23rd goal.

Arvidsson scored a minute later when Minnesota’s Dakota Mermis slid on his belly to block a centering pass, but instead deflected it past Fleury.

Arvidsson missed the first 50 games of the season while recovering from back surgery, and he played just four games in February before missing 14 more games with a new lower-body injury.

Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno accidentally made it 5-0 when he deflected Spence’s shot under Fleury.

“I thought we had a good start the first couple of shifts, but it seemed like 3-0 came pretty quick,” Foligno said. “It’s tough to put yourself in a good position when that happens. The penalty-kill has got to do a better job. It was just one of those nights (with) a lot of tips going in, and it’s tough for our goalies to do that and play their best game when we’ve got guys, myself included, getting bad breaks.”

The third period featured 130 combined penalty minutes, including 12 misconducts. Every skater on the ice got a misconduct after a prolonged scuffle with 5:44 to play.

Wild: Host St. Louis on Saturday.
Kings: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday night.