The Kings lost a game they needed to win Monday, falling to the Minnesota Wild 3-1 at Crypto.com Arena to muddy the team’s playoff outlook with one game left in the regular season.

The loss, the Kings’ first at home in nine games, leaves them with a one-point lead over Vegas for third place in the Pacific Division. If the Golden Knights defeat the struggling Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday and the Ducks on Thursday, the Kings would fall to the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot and meet the conference’s top-seeded team in the playoffs.

As of Monday, the Dallas Stars – a team the Kings haven’t beaten in three tries this season and been outscored 13-3 – were first in the West.

The Kings (43-27-11) started in control of their own fate: win their last two games and they would finish third, giving them a chance at home-ice advantage if they survived a likely first-round series with the Edmonton Oilers.

The Kings entered Monday with the NHL’s best home record since the All-Star break and the league’s top penalty kill at home. Both those marks took a beating in a poor first period when Matt Boldy scored on a power play.

With Alex Laferriere in the box for interference, Boldy took the puck from Marco Rossi at the blue line, fought his way past defenseman Matt Roy at the top of the slot, then pushed a shot through the legs of Kings goalie Cam Talbot from just outside the crease for his 29th goal of the season.

Ryan Hartman doubled the lead for Minnesota (39-32-10) with five seconds left in the second period, finishing a two-on-one break with a wrist shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle for his 21st goal.

Kirill Kaprizov made the goal happen by slipping a pass to Hartman to pick up his 50th assist of the season.

Kaprizov then made it 3-0 at 8:25 of the third period, deflecting a shot from behind the goal line off Talbot’s back and into the net for his 45th goal and 95th point.

Blake Lizotte got the Kings on the board with 5:24 to play, scoring on a wrist shot from the top of the slot.

Talbot stopped 25 shots and Minnesota goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 23 saves.

The Kings did get some good news with captain Anze Kopitar’s return. He sat out Saturday’s win over the Ducks because of a minor injury. It was only the second game he has sat out since the 2020-2021 season.

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Copyright (C) 2022, Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Portions copyrighted by the respective providers.

This story was originally published April 16, 2024, 12:19 AM.

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