Kings Coach Terry Murray, shown back in October, was more interested in… (Ina Fassbender / Reuters )
Forget the red carpet, the presents, the long speeches and former players being flown in for the occasion.
None of that was going to happen for Kings Coach Terry Murray.
This was the only suitable present for a man light on ego and heavy on results. The man who happened to be coaching his 1,000th NHL game and made it clear he had little interest in talking about his long career behind the bench.
The gift package for Murray was a 5-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday at Staples Center, replete with secondary scoring and unexpected contributions.
His expression barely changed — offering the slightest suggestion of a smile — when the accomplishment was noted in the first period.
The best tonic for a Kings team that had been on a 1-4-2 run?
There was center Colin Fraser recording his first goal as a King, defenseman Matt Greene scoring his first goal in 21 games and defenseman Alec Martinez getting his second of the season, on the power play. Of course there were the expected sources of offense: Captain Dustin Brown scored his fourth goal of the season, converting his own rebound after treating Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky like a pylon, and forward Simon Gagne scored his sixth of the season.
Fraser, who was acquired in the controversial Ryan Smyth trade with the Edmonton Oilers in June, opened the scoring at 2:49 of the first period. This was his second game with the Kings, and it has been a long and winding journey for him following ankle surgery.
"It [the goal] feels like a weight off my shoulders," Fraser said in a TV interview during the game, saying it felt like "forever."
After it was 4-0, the Wild pulled starter Josh Harding, who suffered his first loss in six games. Harding allowed four goals on 21 shots. The last time the Kings scored four goals in a period was Dec. 27, 2010, at San Jose in a 4-0 victory.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick's bid for a fourth shutout this season ended when Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck scored on the power play just 47 seconds into the third period.
Murray said left wing Dustin Penner had sustained a hand injury in Thursday's loss to Vancouver and would be out of the lineup, meaning Brad Richardson was back in action. Just how long Penner will be out is unclear.
"Specifically, it [happened] on one of the power plays," Murray said. "I'm not exactly sure which one it was. ... It's going to be longer than day to day. I can't speculate. ... I don't like to put a specific time on it because it's the wrong message to a player. He's going to be out longer than day to day, firstname.lastname@example.org