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 -- on a pair of Minnesota line changes -- and Backstrom, who came in with an NHL-leading 19 wins was being pulled from the game in favor of backup 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.
"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."
Regehr notched an assist for his first point with his new team, but it was his work on defense that caught the eye of goalie Jonathan Bernier.
"He plays great defense, he clears the puck in front of the net and he wins battles on the walls," Bernier said. "He's a big part of the team now that he's here and he did a great job tonight."
"I think he's exactly what we expected. He's a hard-nosed player who's tough to play against," Williams said. "And we're all happy as forwards that he's with us now."
Williams added another goal in the second period and Bernier turned away all 23 Minnesota shots as the Kings won for the 13th time in 18 home games.
"It's good to see (Williams) score because he plays with Kopie (Anze Kopitar) and Brownie (Dustin Brown) and doesn't get much credit," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "So it's good to see him score."
Meanwhile, the Wild lost their third straight and are winless in the first two games of a three-game road trip.
"When you are playing a lot of games, on the road you can't get behind. We have been doing that to ourselves; shooting in the foot to start the game. You can't afford to do that," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. "Obviously, you are concerned but you can't panic. Throughout the year you are going to go through ups and downs. You have to work harder to get out of the hole. We have the guys in here who can do it. We have to get back to playing simple hockey. I think we are trying to complicate it. It doesn't make it any easier for us."
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 of Backstrom to chase him from the game less than four minutes in.
"Obviously we have to eliminate some of the big mistakes we are making," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "Two goals on line changes. That's usually something we are pretty strong on. The reality is this has been a grueling stretch, but we have a couple of days now. We have to use them the right way. Get the rest and get focused on this final stretch."
Williams now has six goals in the last five games and Bernier notched his first shutout of the season while improving to 9-2, including 9-0 in 10 starts.
"I just feel if I kept putting them to the net, good things will happen," Williams said. "And I've gotten some lucky ones throughout this little stretch here and I've gotten some good ones."
Bernier has six career shutouts, three of which are against the Wild.
"Just great defense in front of me all night," Bernier said. "The guys did their job, and that made my job a little easier."
Despite his stellar play, don't expect Bernier to leapfrog ahead of starter Jonathan Quick anytime soon.
"No. We're still in the heavy lift schedule part of it and we need them both," Sutter said. "I think it's shown that when one's [goalie] fresh it doesn't matter which one it is, that they're both capable guys."
Carter continued his solid season with his 21st goal, and he now has 16 goals and 19 points over his last 24 games.
NOTES: The craziness of the NHL deadline played out Thursday as former Buffalo Sabres teammates Robyn 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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