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Kings fall against Wild in overtime, 2-1

March 03, 2008|From the Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- An unlikely offensive source helped the Minnesota Wild gain an important two points.

Martin Skoula scored with 1 minute 15 seconds left in overtime and Minnesota gained sole possession of the division lead with a 2-1 win over the Kings on Sunday.

Marian Gaborik also scored for Minnesota, which moved two points ahead of Calgary atop the Northwest Division, and five points ahead of Colorado and Vancouver.

Michael Cammalleri scored for the Kings, who lost for the fifth consecutive time on the road. Erik Ersberg stopped 33 shots in the first start of his career for the Kings.

Cammalleri put the Kings ahead, 1-0, late in the first period. He controlled a rebound off the end boards and from the goal line put the puck on net. It was his third goal in four games.

"I thought our guys played terrific tonight and we deserved a better fate. But it was a close game. They are used to playing those close games, and they got a nice goal to win it. It was a good play, an honest goal, so you can't really complain too much," Kings Coach Marc Crawford said.

Skoula's goal was his first in 23 games and third in 145 outings with Minnesota.

The last seven Minnesota victories have all been by one goal. Minnesota has won 21 games by one goal, tying the New York Islanders for tops in the league.

"This is a good way to learn how to play under pressure a little bit and when there's a tight game," Gaborik said. "We need to do a big push, and I think this is going to be a good learning experience for us to go to playoffs."

In his first career game as team captain, Gaborik deflected a shot from Brent Burns over the left shoulder of Ersberg early in the second period to tie the score.

The assist was Burns' 34th point, tying him with Lubomir Sekeras (2000-01) for the most points in a season by a Wild defenseman.

Burns, who played a team-high 28:37, has played at least 24 minutes in 11 of 14 games, after playing that much 10 times in the Minnesota's first 52 games.

Pavol Demitra hit the post during a Minnesota power play in the third period.

It was one of the few pucks Ersberg didn't stop. He moved well in the crease, controlled rebounds and was quick with his glove, especially on a first-period save to rob Chris Simon from the right circle.

"It's a little bitter when you end up losing the game, but we got one point and I'm happy with my performance," Ersberg said.

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