ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—The Minnesota Wild must start winning soon if they want to return to the playoffs—all these ties aren’t going to cut it.
On Wednesday night, however, they were more than happy to come out even.
Minnesota, the only team in the NHL without an overtime decision, leads the league with 13 ties.
“We’re still getting points—that’s the main thing,” Roloson said. “Unfortunately, a team ahead of us got a point also. Eventually, we’re going to have to get some wins.”
The Kings, who haven’t won in 13 games (0-3-9-1), have 46 points. They are tied for eighth in the West, three points ahead of the Wild.
“If we continue to play as determined as we are,” Kings coach Andy Murray said, “we know we’ll be rewarded.”
Minnesota, with 43 points, is in 11th after advancing to the conference finals last season. The Wild have just one win in 11 games (1-3-7).
The Wild had two great chances to win. Marian Gaborik, an All-Star last year who has just five goals this season, hit the left post with a shot in the third period and misfired on the rebound after it came straight back to him in the slot.
With less 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Pascal Dupuis came out of the penalty box for a two-on-one with Jim Dowd, who passed to Willie Mitchell— whose shot was partially deflected by Eric Belanger.
“What’s good about it is we’re there every game,” Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. “We’re not winning. We’re there every game.”
Roloson was the star on a night when his team’s normally sound defense was soft at best. Los Angeles had 46 shots, the most allowed by Minnesota this season and also a franchise record at home.
“Thank you, Roly,” Lemaire said, pressing his hands together as if he were praying. “It’s got to be one of his top games.”
Belanger and Scott Barney scored for the injury-decimated Kings, whose last victory was Dec. 16. Leading scorer Ziggy Palffy is out for the season following shoulder surgery, and forward Martin Straka is out with a sprained knee. Forwards Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh haven’t played at all.
Los Angeles, which played Nashville to a scoreless tie on Tuesday, had a 19-6 shots advantage in the first period—but nothing good came out of it. The Kings trailed 1-0 thanks to a poorly executed penalty kill—they’re third-to-last in the NHL in that category.
Jozef Stumpel had a point-blank shot from the top of the crease, but it was gloved by Roloson. A little later, at the other end of the ice, Brunette knocked in a rebound of Andrei Zyuzin’s shot to make it 1-0.
Persistence paid off for the Kings early in the second period. Belanger came from behind the net, sneaked in front of Wild defenseman Nick Schultz, and stuffed a shot in the corner to tie it.
Barney—called up from the minors on Monday when Palffy and Straka were placed on the injured list—scored on a slap shot through traffic to put Los Angeles ahead 2-1.
Murray was asked if the tie was a disappointment, considering his team doubled the Wild’s shot total.
“I don’t even know how you can put the word disappointment in the same sentence with our effort tonight,” Murray said. “We played a determinedgame.”
Brunette’s score was Minnesota’s first with an extra skater in 28 home chances. Leading Minnesota with 26 points and nine power-play points, Brunette broke a 13-game goal drought. … Barney, playing in his first game this season, scored his first NHL goal. “This is very rewarding after a lot of hard work I put in,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get a permanent spot here.” … Roloson has allowed two goals or fewer in 13 starts. … This is the first ofthree meetings between the Kings and Wild over the next month.