Los Angeles Kings vs. Minnesota Wild Game Preview
The Los Angeles Kings will look to jump back into a wildcard spot with a win today over the Minnesota Wild.
Following a disappointing loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Kings are now trailing the Vancouver Canucks by 1 point for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
The Wild are coming off a come-from-behind win against the San Jose Sharks back on January 5. They were down 4-2 in the 3rd period, but scored 3 straight goals to secure a 5-4 win.
Mikko Koivu scored the final two goals for the Wild, who look like one of the most well balanced teams in the entire league.
At +38, they have the best goal differential in the Western Conference by a large margin (the Chicago Blackhawks rank second with a +13).
The Wild rank in the top 4 in both goals per game and goals allowed per game. The Columbus Blue Jackets are the only other team in the league that can claim that distinction.
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Devan Dubnyk has been masterful in net this season. He leads the NHL in both save percentage at .939 and GAA at 1.82 in 30 games played.
Luckily for the Kings, Dubnyk is expected to get a rest against them. Darcy Kuemper will likely get the start instead. Kuemper has much more manageable statistics, sitting at a .904 save percentage and a 3.11 GAA.
The Wild have a multitude of scoring options. Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, and Charlie Coyle all have at least 31 points already.
Jeff Carter, Alec Martinez, and Tyler Toffoli are the three players on the Kings who have at least 20 points.
Comparatively, the Wild have 7 players with at least 20 points. Koivu, Jason Tucker, Nino Niederreiter, and Ryan Suter all have as many or more points as any Kings player besides Carter.
The puck drops at 1:00 PM Pacific Time, and the Los Angeles crowd will get to enjoy some afternoon hockey.
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