PREVIEW: Resurgent LA Kings plan to stay on offensive vs. Wild (7p, FOX Sports West)
The Minnesota Wild are getting the type of offense from their defensemen that Los Angeles Kings interim coach Willie Desjardins hopes to see from his new team.
Desjardins will get an up-close look at Minnesota's style of play when the Kings (5-8-1) host the Wild on Thursday night at Staples Center, the second game for Desjardins since his was hired by Los Angeles last weekend.
The Wild (8-4-2) are second in the NHL in goals scored by their defensemen with 14, and they lead the league in the percentage of goals scored by their defensemen at 32.6.
Eric Staal missed the 4-3 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night because of an illness, ending a streak of 335 straight appearances.
Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters on Wednesday that Staal would likely take a commercial flight to Los Angeles later Wednesday night in hopes of feeling strong enough to play against the Kings.
The Kings lost to the Wild 4-1 in Minnesota on Oct. 25, the final defeat in a six-game losing streak that likely played a big role in the dismissal of Stevens.
Los Angeles has since won three of four and scored four goals in each of the wins, something they accomplished just once in the first 10 games.
Desjardins said one of the keys to sustaining offense is rolling four forward lines.
"I think that's the best way to play," he told reporters after a 4-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks in his team debut Tuesday night. "If we can roll four, we can stay fresh and we can play hard. It's an adjustment for the guys, too. Not only do I adjust to the team, all of a sudden they get somebody doing different things, and it's a little bit hard for them right away, too."