Daily News Anze Kopitar reaches 1,200-point milestone as Kings thrash Wild

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LOS ANGELES — Kevin Fiala lit up his former team, Viktor Arvidsson scored in his first game back from injury, Andreas Englund backed up a big hit with a fight and the Kings built a 3-0 lead over the Minnesota Wild … and that all happened in the first period alone.

By the end of Wednesday night, the Kings had rolled to a 6-0 victory over a depleted Minnesota club that snapped its eight-game points streak with a loss in regulation at Crypto.com Arena. Both teams had won a night earlier, and the Kings have captured three of their past four games.

Kings captain Anze Kopitar’s assist was career point No. 1,200 and his goal was No. 1,201. Fiala, Arvidsson and Phillip Danault matched Kopitar’s contribution with a goal and an assist apiece. Matt Roy and Jordan Spence each added a goal from the blue line, where Drew Doughty chipped in the same two assists that Trevor Moore did up front. David Rittich had 30 saves to earn his third shutout one night after Cam Talbot picked up a win in a romp over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Marc-Andre Fleury wobbled and also bore the brunt of the Wild’s dead legs, weary minds and bad bounces before being relieved by Filip Gustavsson. Minnesota was at the end of its road trip and without arguably its three best defensive players: center Joel Eriksson Ek as well as defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin. Brodin was injured in a 4-0 victory over the Ducks on Tuesday.

The Kings’ opening salvo began with a hit by Danault on the former Kings prospect at the center of the Fiala swap, defenseman Brock Faber. As the Wild attempted to break out, Fiala disrupted Ryan Hartman’s pass with a deft deflection that went to Moore. Moore promptly fired a shot that Danault tipped past Fleury 5:08 into the contest for his 17th goal of the season.

Englund and Jake Middleton scrapped in the middle of both the game and the ice after Englund had checked Marcus Johansson.

The Kings extended their lead on a power play that proved patience to be a virtue. Not only did they score with under five seconds remaining on Minnesota’s minor penalty, it was Fiala ignoring the pleas of “shoot!” from the crowd to make a pass, adjust his position, receive the puck anew, change his shooting angle and pick his spot against a defenseless Fleury. It was goal No. 23 of 2023-24 for Fiala, with 4:57 to play in the period.

Their next goal, 1:23 later, was as uplifting as it was fluky. Arvidsson, who missed 50 games to start the season (back surgery) as well as the past 15 (lower-body injury), scored his first goal of the season. He was trying to slide the puck across for Danault but Dakota Mermis, who was filling in for the injured Brodin, broke up the pass in fortuitous fashion for the Kings as the wayward puck slid between Fleury’s legs for a serendipitous score.

Momentum and puck luck alike carried over into the second period, when Quinton Byfield’s centering attempt was inadvertently rerouted by Faber’s skate, directly to the trailing Roy for a goal that made it 4-0 just 28 seconds into the frame.

They extended their lead with a second power-play goal at the 7:34 mark and a de facto man-advantage tally nearly 10 minutes afterward.

Spence went 54 games without a goal but scored his second in five days when Moore found him alone above the inside portion of the left circle. His far-side fling beat Fleury and chased him from the contest.

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From the fourth goal of Spence’s career to old hat for the third-most prolific goalie-center tandem in NHL history, Doughty located a seam from the top of the circle to the right dot, where Kopitar was waiting to rip a kneeling one-timer past Gustavsson for a 6-0 advantage. Kopitar scored just two seconds after Marcus Foligno’s penalty expired for Minnesota.

The third period was less focused on the scoring summary than the penalty summary, when 20 minutes worth of infractions were dished out with 11:01 to play. Hartman set off the melee by jumping Pierre-Luc Dubois, causing everyone to come together and exchange more than pleasantries. Opponents came together en masse a second time as 5:44 showed on the clock, earning a 10-minute misconduct penalty for all 10 skaters on the ice, after which both benches had more gaps than Doughty’s smile.

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Kopitar has spent his entire 18-season career with the Kings. According to the NHL, the Slovenian center is the fourth player in league history born outside North America to score 1,200 points with one team, joining Alex Ovechkin, Stan Mikita and Evgeni Malkin.

More to come on this story.

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