LOS ANGELES -- The NHL season may only be a month old but the Kings played a key home game Monday night against one of the Western Conference's elite teams.
The Detroit Red Wings? No. The Colorado Avalanche? Try again.
The power the Kings faced was the surprising Minnesota Wild, which came in with the best record in the conference and did not disappoint.
Behind three goals from budding star Marian Gaborik, the Wild handed the Kings a 5-2 defeat in front of 16,653 at Staples Center to improve its record to 9-2-2, which now stands alone as the best in the league.
"It was disappointing for our team but we have to give the No. 1 team in the NHL credit," King Coach Andy Murray said. "They're playing hard and competing. They're doing what they have to do to win."
The Kings, who have been up and down this season when playing with a man advantage, didn't just have trouble scoring in that situation; they also gave up a short-handed goal by Gaborik in the second period.
"The bottom line, for your power play to work, you give a responsibility to your top-end offensive players and that's a responsibility that they've asked for and they need to execute," Murray said about a King power play that began Monday's game ranked only 20th in the NHL, and 25th at home.
Minnesota 1 1 3 -- 5
Los Angeles 1 0 1 -- 2
First Period--1, Minnesota, Gaborik 8 (Ronning, Dupuis), 2:41 (pp). 2, Los Angeles, Frolov 4 (E.Belanger, Visnovsky), 15:23. Penalties--Schneider, LA (interference), 2:13; Kuba, Min (tripping), 13:21; M.Johnson, Min (roughing), 18:50.
Second Period--3, Minnesota, Gaborik 9 (Ronning), 6:53 (sh). Penalties--Dowd, Min (unportsmanlike conduct), 5:32; Visnovsky, LA (high-sticking), 8:12; Ronning, Min (hooking), 18:00.
Third Period--4, Minnesota, Ronning 4 (Dupuis), 17:07. 5, Los Angeles, Modry 4 (Schneider, E.Belanger), 18:21 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Gaborik 10 (Dupuis), 18:51 (en). 7, Minnesota, Laaksonen 5, 19:54 (en). Penalties--Schneider, LA (closing hand on puck), 5:46; Zholtok, Min (tripping), 14:41; Brown, Min (high-sticking), 17:27.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 8-6-9--23. Los Angeles 13-6-7--26.
Power-play Opportunities--Minnesota 1 of 3; Los Angeles 1 of 6.
Goalies--Minnesota, Roloson 3-1-2 (26 shots-24 saves). Los Angeles, Storr 1-2-0 (21-18).
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