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Kings give coach Murray win in 1,000th NHL game, LA tops Wild 5-2

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Los Angeles Kings made Terry Murray a winner in his 1,000th game as an NHL head coach. Fittingly, the winning goal was credited to his captain, Dustin Brown.

Defencemen Alex Martinez and Matt Greene scored on the front and back ends of a four-goal second period, and Colin Fraser added a goal in the Kings' 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

"I've never had a milestone before. But it doesn't feel any different or anything special, really. It was a game that was very important for us to win," Murray said. "I really liked the focus coming into this game.

"What I liked about this milestone, the fact that the team played well and won the game."

Murray is the 21st NHL coach to work 1,000 games, joining his brother Bryan. He also has coached 101 post-season games during his career that includes stints with Washington, Florida and Philadelphia. Nashville's Barry Trotz also coached his 1,000th game on Saturday, all with the Predators.

"It's probably harder as a coach to get a thousand games than it is as a player, so it's a big milestone for him," Brown said. "It's always nice when you can have a milestone like that be a win."

Defence has been a key element of Murray's three-plus seasons with the Kings, which followed a seven-year absence behind an NHL bench. The Kings made the playoffs each of the previous two seasons after a six-year drought, and are setting their sights on bigger things.

"His coaching style suits this team very well," Brown said. "When he first came out here, we didn't have much of a system—especially in our D-zone.

"We're one of the best defensive teams over the last three years, and a lot of that comes from the system he's brought in. Hammering it home to us and having a lot of the guys buying in is a big part of that, too."

Murray enjoyed his time away from the bench. But when the Kings called, his decision to come back was easy.

"I was very satisfied with what I was doing," he said. "I'm just very grateful for the opportunity to get back into it. You're forever grateful to people who give you another chance. It's great to be here.

"They're a young group that's working hard for each other and want to get better. We're moving in the right direction. We're a pretty good hockey club, and this team can be one for a lot of years because of the youth."

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for the win after losing his previous six starts. His teammates staked him to a 5-0 lead through two periods against a team that had won five of six and allowed an average of 1.56 goals over 14 games.

Twelve Kings got on the score sheet. Simon Gagne had a goal and an assist, and Justin Williams had two assists.

Josh Harding gave up four goals on 21 shots and was pulled by rookie coach Mike Yeo at 11:44 of the second period. Cal Clutterbuck and Darroll Powe scored for the Wild, who have averaged 2.3 goals through their first 16 games.

Harding had won his previous four starts, allowing just three goals on 129 shots. The Wild played without left wing Guillaume Latendresse, who sustained a concussion Thursday at San Jose.

"It's too early to analyze it, but I guess a lot of things went wrong. So it's not only the D-zone," Wild forward Mikko Koivu said. "Obviously, we are not spending time on the O-zone."

Los Angeles limited Minnesota to one shot through the first 17 minutes, 15 seconds. The Kings had 10 shots during that stretch, including Fraser's first goal since he was acquired from Edmonton in June for Ryan Smyth.

"We played three bad games in a row," Yeo said. "We thought that when we won five games in a row that we're there but we're not even close. Along the way we forgot what we had to put in to win hockey games. We got what we deserved.

"Right from the drop of the puck, we weren't ready to play."

Warren Peters received a five-minute boarding penalty at 17:38 of the first after his check on Martinez in the Kings zone, and Los Angeles scored with 38 seconds left on thepower play.

Brown made it 3-0 at 6:49 of the period.

NOTES: Kings LW Dustin Penner sat out because of a hand injury sustained Thursday in a loss to Vancouver. He was replaced by Brad Richardson, who was a healthy scratch Thursday after going the first 15 games with no goals and one assist. ... Wild RW Dany Heatley earned his 700th NHL point with an assist on Clutterbuck's goal. ... Murray is six wins shy of 500.


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