Wild aim to continue success in second game of back-to-backs

Zach Parise's run of five goals in the season's first three games puts him in rare company in the Wild's brief franchise history.

Gary A. Vasquez/Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild, at 3-0-0, are the only unblemished team in the NHL’s Central Division.

The Los Angeles Kings (0-3-0), conversely, are languishing near the bottom of the Pacific.

Hot and cold will converge at Los Angeles’ Staples Center late Friday night, as the Wild look for a second win in as many nights. Minnesota edged Arizona by a 4-3 margin late Thursday night. Last season, Minnesota handled the second game of back-to-backs admirably, posting a 7-2-4 record in that scenario.

BEST RECORD IN 2ND GAME OF BACK-TO-BACKS, 2014-15

  RECORD WIN PCT.
Calgary Flames 7-2-1 .750
New York Rangers 10-3-1 .750
Minnesota Wild 7-2-4 .692
Anaheim Ducks 8-4-1 .654
Chicago Blackhawks 9-5-1 .633

The Wild have also found the road to their liking over the past two seasons. Since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, Minnesota is one of a small group of teams with a better record on the road than on home ice. Head coach Mike Yeo’s troops have gone 26-15-2 on the road over the last two seasons.

BETTER RECORD ON ROAD THAN AT HOME, SINCE 2014-15

  HOME RECORD ROAD RECORD DIFF.
Blue Jackets 19-22-2 (.465) 23-17-3 (.570) +.105
Stars 19-16-8 (.535) 25-16-2 (.605) +.070
Coyotes 12-26-5 (.337) 15-25-3 (.384) +.047
Sharks 20-17-5 (.536) 23-16-4 (.581) +.045
Rangers 26-12-5 (.663) 30-12-2 (.705) +.042
Canucks 24-15-3 (.607) 27-14-3 (.648) +.041
Wild 23-13-6 (.619) 26-15-2 (.628) +.009

Los Angeles won two of three matchups with Minnesota last season, but the Kings have yet to get rolling this season. Standout center Anze Kopitar, for example, is a minus-three currently, without a point. Additionally, former Wild star Marian Gaborik — a seven-time 30-goal scorer — also has zero points for L.A. so far this season.

The Wild have few issues on offense these days. Star Zach Parise’s five goals rank first in the NHL, and three other Minnesota skaters have four points: Jason Pominville, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund. Parise’s run of five goals in the season’s first three games puts him in rare company in the Wild’s brief franchise history.

MOST GOALS THROUGH WILD’S 1ST 3 GAMES, ALL-TIME

PLAYER GOALS
Zach Parise (2015-16) 5
Antti Miettinen (2008-09) 5
Stacy Roest (2001-02) 3
March Chouinard (2005-06) 3
Dany Heatley (2012-13) 3

Both teams enter tonight’s matchup with some issues in net. L.A. goaltender Jonathan Quick’s 3.71 goals-against average ranks 43rd in the league. Minnesota’s 29-year-old netminder, Devan Dubnyk, has been in goal for all three of Minnesota’s wins so far, yet his .892 save percentage ranks just 35th in the league. Dubnyk, however, is not expected to start vs. the Kings.

Other numbers of note regarding this matchup:

— Despite their winless record, the Kings’ Fenwick percentage (55.7) is nevertheless strong, an indication that they’re effective in puck possession, in addition to taking more overall shots than their foes.

Since 2010-11, the Wild and Kings have had six shootout games in their head-to-head meetings.

Derek Forbort, a 2010 first-round draft pick, is expected to make his NHL debut for the Kings on Friday.

Statistics courtesy STATS LLC.

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