WILD (22-17-5) at KINGS (25-13-4)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
This is the second of three meetings with the Wild this season. The Kings opened the year on October 3 at XCEL Energy Center, beating Minnesota 3-2 in a SO in their only visit to the Twin Cities this regular season. The Wild, after tonight, will return to STAPLES Center on March 31 for the third and final regular season match up between these two clubs. Minnesota is 10-9-4 at STAPLES Center since their inception in 2000.
MAKE IT A STREAK:
Both clubs enter tonight with 4-6-0 records in their previous 10 contests. The Kings are coming off of a 3-1 win over Vancouver, which saw them snap their season-high five-game losing streak. Minnesota is coming off of a 5-3 win over Washington, but lost their leading scorer, Mikko Koivu, who went down with a broken ankle Sunday. Koivu had 35 points (8G, 27A) in 44 games this season. Can the Kings notch their second consecutive win tonight?
BACK AT IT:
Jonathan Quick didn’t seem to miss a beat in his return to the Kings crease Saturday night after sitting out 24 games with a Grade-2 groin strain. Quick made 27 saves against Vancouver Saturday night, allowing just one goal in the Kings’ 3-1 victory. Quick stopped 27 shots in the Kings last date with Minnesota, also nixing both of the Wild’s shootout attempts in the Kings’ 3-2 victory October 3. Can Quick come up big against Minnesota again?
LAST TIME AROUND:
In the Kings’ 3-2 SO victory in Minnesota earlier this season, six different players recorded at least one point, and both Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter had markers in the shootout round. The Kings were fueled by Carter’s game-tying goal with just 6:46 remaining in the third period to push the contest past regulation, for an eventual Kings shootout win.
Carter’s got hot hands coming into tonight’s dance with Minnesota, scoring two goals in Saturday night’s win, and with a total of four points (3G, 1A) in the Kings’ past three games.
Opposing buildings haven’t been welcoming to Minnesota’s roster this season, as they’re a dismal 6-12-3 away from St. Paul’s XCEL Energy Center. The Kings, though, have found plenty of happiness at home this season – riding a 14-5-2 record at STAPLES Center into tonight’s bout. Will it have anything to do with location, location, location tonight?
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE:
Minnesota’s NHL club hasn’t skated in Los Angeles since April 13 of last season, when the Kings shut out the Wild in a 3-0 win. The storyline of that night was Justin Williams, who snapped the eventual game-winning goal past Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom just 1:29 minutes into the game, and padded the Kings’ lead to 3-0 with 16:08 left to play.
Williams has four points (2G, 2A) in the Kings’ last 12 games. He’s due for a Wild night.
THIS IS WILD:
Since Minnesota’s re-inception to the NHL during the 2000-’01 season, Wild goaltenders have had the best save percentage against the Kings out of any of the other 28 teams in the league. Minnesota’s goaltenders have a combined .913 SV% against the Kings in 48 games played against Los Angeles. As a franchise, the Wild have a 21-16-11 record against the Kings.
Kind of. Robyn Regehr was dealt from the Buffalo Sabres to the Kings on April 1, 2013 of last season. Regehr played his first game in a Kings uniform against the Minnesota Wild on April 4, 2013 – the last time Minnesota was in Los Angeles. Regehr assisted on the Kings’ third and final goal of the night, and finished his debut with a +2 rating.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE:
Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call on scene at STAPLES Center for puck-drop at 7:30.