Two first period goals and a strong defensive effort keyed a 2-1 victory for the Minnesota Wild over the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
Rookie winger Charlie Coyle got the scoring started at 16:21 of the first -- his 8th goal of the season. The goal was set up after Tom Gilbert's shot popped up in the air and landed behind the goal line, Zach Parise chased it down and fired a quick pass to Coyle in front of the net, where he buried his shot.
16 seconds later Cal Clutterbuck raced up the left wing and ripped a shot over Jonathan Bernier's right shoulder and into the top of the net for a 2-0 Minnesota lead. It snapped a 19 game goal-less streak for Clutterbuck.
The Kings scored at the final horn of the second period, but the story of the middle period was a cheap shot by Kings captain Dustin Brown on Jason Pominville, who did not return to the game.
The Wild then played a defensive third period, which was highlight by a huge glove save by Niklas Backstrom in the closing seconds of the game.
With the win, Minnesota can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Edmonton on Friday.