Sat, 27 Feb 2021

Kings looking to settle score with Wild

Field Level Media
26 Jan 2021, 07:40 GMT+10

After opening the season with a pair of heartbreaking losses to the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings are looking for revenge when they visit the Wild on Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn.

The first two meetings between the West Division rivals played out in near-identical fashion, much to the Kings'chagrin. Both games saw Los Angeles take a 3-1 lead into the third period, only for the Wild to tie the score in regulation and then strike in overtime for a 4-3 result.

Minnesota seemed to have another comeback stirring Sunday against the San Jose Sharks, as the Wild recovered from another 3-1 deficit in the second period to equalize the game. This time, however, San Jose's Brent Burns and Matthew Nieto each scored in the last two minutes to hand the Wild a 5-3 loss.

"It's hard to come back," said Minnesota forward Nick Bjugstad, who scored his first goal of the season in Sunday's contest. "It does show that we're resilient and we're keeping it positive and doing our best to come back. But more often than not, we can't put ourselves in those situations and expect to win games."

The Kings, meanwhile, are coming off their best overall performance of the season. Six different players recorded goals for Los Angeles as the Kings rolled to a 6-3 road win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

"All three zones were solid, we were skating, there was a tenacity to us, we were responsible," Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought this was the first time we took the game to a team rather than receiving it."

Anze Kopitar had two assists against the Blues and also scored his first goal of the season. Kopitar is off to a hot start, with a team-leading 10 points (one goal, nine assists).

Both Kopitar (one goal, seven assists) and linemate Adrian Kempe (three goals, two assists) are on four-game point streaks.

Jonathan Quick is the Kings' probable starter in net on Tuesday. Quick is 2-0-2 in four starts this season.

With Cam Talbot questionable due to a lower-body injury, Kaapo Kahkonen will likely again step in as Minnesota's starting goaltender. Kahkonen has looked good in 158 minutes of action this season, recording a .921 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average.

Kirill Kaprizov was the star of the Wild's first win over the Kings on Jan. 14, recording two assists and scoring the overtime winner. The rookie forward has six points (one goal, five assists) over his first six NHL games.

Nico Sturm (illness) has missed the Wild's last two games, which led the team to deploy a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen. It isn't known if Sturm will return for Tuesday, or if the Wild will dress a 12th forward if he continues to be absent.

The Wild have one of the NHL's best penalty-killing units, with only two goals allowed from 20 opponents' power plays. By contrast, Minnesota is near the bottom of the league standings with the extra attacker, scoring just twice during 27 power-play chances.

The Kings and Wild also play Thursday in St. Paul. The two clubs play eight times this season, all before the end of February.

--Field Level Media

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