LOS ANGELES -- Nearly two weeks after last playing at Staples Center, it didn't take the Los Angeles Kings long to settle in at home against the visiting Minnesota Wild Thursday.
Barely a minute into the game, Justin Williams beat Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later Mike Richards found a streaking Jeff Carter, who fired a shot past Backstrom for another goal.
Just like that, the Kings had a 2-0 lead and Backstrom, who came in with an NHL-leading 19 wins was being pulled from the game in favor of back-up Darcy Kuemper.
The Stanley Cup Champion Kings never relinquished control, the Wild struggled for the second straight night and the 45th straight sellout crowd at Staples Center was treated to a 3-0 Kings victory.
Williams added another goal in the second period and goalie Jonathan Bernier turned away all 23 Minnesota shots as the Kings won for the 13th time in 18 home games.
Meanwhile, the Wild lost their third straight and are winless in the first two games of a three-game road trip.
With the win, the Kings move from sixth place to fourth in the Western Conference playoff standings, and they did it despite taking nine less shots than the Wild.
They just made much more of their chances than Minnesota, especially early on when they unleashed a barrage on Backstrom to chase him from the game less than four minutes in.
"We had a great start. Guys were ready to go," said Robyn Regehr, who was making his Kings debut after getting traded to Los Angeles from Buffalo Monday. "We wanted to come out and get after them and we did that."
Williams now has six goals in the last five games and Bernier notched his first shutout of the season while improving to 12-8.
NOTES: The craziness of the NHL deadline played out Thursday as former Buffalo Sabres teammates Regehr and Jason Pominville faced off as new members of the Kings and Wild at Staples Center. The Kings acquired Regehr on Monday for a pair of future second-round picks, partially as coverage for the uncertain future of defensemen Willie Mitchell. Minnesota, meanwhile, pried the high-scoring Pominville away from Buffalo for prospects Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett, a 2013 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick. ... Regehr was thrilled to be joining the Stanley Cup champion Kings. "Really, really happy for a few different reasons," he said. "First of all, being in position to win again with a team that (did it) in the past and wants to do it again. I'm very excited about that. I'm also familiar with (Kings coach) Darryl (Sutter) as a coach and knowing how demanding he is." ... Regehr is in the final year of a five-year, $20.1 million contract but Kings general manager Dean Lombardi indicated there is a strong possibility Regehr is more than just a rental. "We're looking at this as a guy that can fit here for a number of years," Lombardi said.
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- Ice Hockey
- Los Angeles Kings
- Niklas Backstrom
- the Kings
- Minnesota Wild
- Robyn Regehr
- Justin Williams