Kaprizov scores in OT in NHL debut, lifts Wild over Kings
Kirill Kaprizov scored his first NHL goal with 1:13 remaining in overtime and finished with three points as the Minnesota Wild rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in the season opener for both teams Thursday night.
The 23-year-old Russian scored on a breakaway, putting the puck past Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick. Kaprizov, who is the third Russian-born player to make his NHL debut with the Wild, also had a pair of assists. He was a fifth-round selection by Minnesota in 2015 before signing a two-year, entry-level contract last summer.
Minnesota trailed 3-1 after two periods before rallying. Jonas Brodin, Victor Rask and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Wild. Cam Talbot made 32 saves in his Minnesota debut.
Dustin Brown scored his 300th goal, Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist and Andreas Athanasiou also scored for Los Angeles. Quick stopped 23 shots.
Brown got his milestone goal with 2:55 remaining in the second on the power play with a wrap-around that put the Kings in front by two goals.
The Kings, who were one of seven teams that missed the playoffs, were playing their first game since March 11. They were the league’s hottest team with seven straight wins before last season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Minnesota was playing its first game since Aug. 7, after it lost to Vancouver in four games in the best-of-five qualifying round in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Talbot had a rough game in his Wild debut. Talbot, who signed a three-year contract last July, fell to 7-10 in 17 career starts against Los Angeles.
Minnesota G Alex Stalock, along with Los Angeles D Kurtis MacDermid, G Cal Petersen and Sean Walker
The Wild remarked before the game how strange it felt walking through their largely empty hotel across the street from Staples Center, with no activity at the adjacent LA Live complex, either. There was no team meal, just grab-and-go food for coaches and players to take to their rooms and eat on their own.
“I packed a lot more recovery stuff this year,” Talbot said. “More sweatpants. Less jeans. You can’t really go anywhere, so it’s just comfy clothes and stuff to keep you entertained in the room.”
The teams will meet again on Saturday night. Eight of Los Angeles’ first 21 games are against Minnesota and the season series will be wrapped up by the end of February. The Wild are one of four Central Division teams who are part of the reconfigured West Division this season.
“Adjustments will come into play on both sides but saying that these early games are more about us,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan about playing teams in back-to-back games for most of the season. “It is about doing things in our world before picking things apart about other teams.”