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Preview, Game Day #46: Minnesota Wild @ Los Angeles Kings

Let's take a logical look at tonight's game, which should reinforce how predictable hockey is.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild @ Los Angeles Kings

Time: 7:30 Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Sportsnet

Enemy Reading: Hockey Wilderness

Los Angeles Kings

Lucic-Kopitar-Toffoli
Gaborik-Lecavailer-Carter
King-Lewis-Brown
Nolan-Shore-Pearson

Muzzin-Doughty
Martinez-McBain
McNabb-Schenn

Quick
(Enroth)

Scratched: Andreoff, Ehrhoff Injured: Clifford

Minnesota Wild

Vanek-Koivu-Zucker
Parise-Granlund-Pominville
Niederreiter-Coyle-Schroeder
Porter-Stoll-Haula

Suter-Spurgeon
Brodin-Dumba
Scandella-Prosser

Kuemper
(Dubnyk)

Scratched: Fontaine, Strachan, Backstrom Injured: Carter

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Wild Kings
Record 22-16-8 29-13-3
Points 52 61
Division Rank 4th 1st
Streak Lost 5
Won 2
Goals For/Game 2.48 2.64
Goals Against/Game 2.37
2.20
ES Goal % 53.1 52.2
ES Shot %
49.7 54.1
ES PDO 101.0
99.5
ES Corsi % 48.7 55.9
ES Fenwick % 49.3 55.5
ES Scoring Chance % 49.7 55.0
ES High-Danger SC % 51.0 54.1
Power Play % (Rank) 16.5 (26th)
21.5 (5th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 79.6 (21st)
82.4 (9th)
Starting Goalie (today) Kuemper Quick
Goalie Record 4-1-4 26-10-2
Save % .923 .923
ES Save % .934
.930

Notes:

  • When you hear "Minnesota-Los Angeles" you probably don't think of excitement, but there are actually eight teams whose games have (on average) contained fewer Corsi events than Minnesota's 107.3 per 60 minutes. That's Corsi For + Corsi Against. (The Kings have the seventh-most Corsi events per game at 111.9 per 60, so everyone can finally shut up about LA playing boring hockey now.) Not surprisingly, New Jersey's way back in last at 93.1 per 60, six fewer than Florida's 29th-place rate. New Jersey's leading 5-0 in Ottawa after one period today, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • Darcy Kuemper gets the start for Minnesota tonight; he's only lost in regulation once, but he's taken the L four times in OT or the shootout. He's actually been better than 2014-15 Vezina Finalist Devan Dubnyk statistically, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • Also, goaltender Niklas Backstrom is still on the team. For some reason. He hasn't played in a game all year. His save percentage was below .900 each of the last two seasons before this one. He is making $3.4 million this season, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • Jarret Stoll is back at Staples Center for the first time since he left the Kings during the offseason. He's currently carrying the worst CF% percentage in the league among regular players (37.7%), though in fairness to him, he's also drawing the third-highest ratio of defensive zone starts in the entire league (behind specialists Paul Gaustad and Marcus Kruger). He'll probably score a goal tonight, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • As for the Kings, they're coming off a second straight hard-fought 3-2 win over a playoff-bound Western Conference foe. However, tonight is a second straight game against a free-falling team, as Minnesota has gone 2-6-2 in their last ten. In fact, with the Wild and the Colorado Paper Tigers in the 4-5 slots and Nashville seemingly unwilling to achieve their true potential, it's looking like the Pacific Division might sneak four teams to the playoffs even after a truly terrible start, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • Jeff Carter is still on right wing, a decision which has been aided by Vincent Lecavalier. Vinny has three goals in three games now, because hockey always makes perfect sense.
  • PREDICTION: Minnesota wins 4-1, because hockey always makes perfect sense.