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Preview: You can’t quit once in it for the long haul

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You can only do so much about wins and losses as a professional athlete. The Los Angeles Kings are taking it well as a team.

Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Hockey Wilderness

What to Watch

Like wins, all losses are not created equal and the Los Angeles Kings have been experiencing a multitude of ways that deliver the same painful result in 2019-20.

Allowing five goals a contest, being shutout and in overtime. Life is certainly a box of chocolates.

The Kings are through about 20 percent of the regular season and you can’t say it is over until it actually is, but the fanbase and organization isn’t necessarily sensing that they’ll repeat the miracle run that the St. Louis Blues had last year.

Points wise, Los Angeles is last in the league with 11 points in 17 games and the inability to score and keep up the fast pace set by their opponents is an issue.

While the Canadian road trip set them back in the standings with three consecutive losses, the games have been much more competitive as of late. You can’t ask for more than a chance to win in games that allow that opportunity as the Kings picked up power play goals in two of those three games and effectively killed 10 of the 12 penalties assessed against them.

Blake Lizotte finally got the monkey off his back that was the first NHL goal and goaltender Jonathan Quick has posted a .900 save percentage in his last two starts. For Quick, this is a trend in a positive direction when you look at the .858 posted in the first month of the season.

It was announced by the team on Monday that forward Trevor Lewis has been placed on injured reserve and according to Jon Rosen, he is not expected to return anytime soon.

Lewis, 32, has spent a majority of his ice time in the bottom six rotation averaging about 12:25 minutes a night. The lowest usage rate since 2010-11 (11:29).

Since arriving to Minnesota in 2015-16, Bruce Boudreau appears to be on the hot seat as the Minnesota Wild are last in a tough Central Division. If the Wild miss qualifying for playoffs for a second consecutive year, it will be the first time since 2011-12 that this has occurred in franchise history.

After losing four of its last five games, Minnesota picked up a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday despite being outshot 35-24. Ryan Hartman scored the game-winning goal in the third period on a one-timer from the slot.

Mats Zuccarello, the Norwegian Hobbit Wizard, had trouble recapturing the magic he once had in New York, picking up just one in the first seven games of the season. But he has ramped up his play, stringing together a five-game point streak in addition to scoring goals on a 50% clip.

Eric Staal has seemingly refused that the NHL game is only for the youngsters as he continues to produce at the age of 34. Of players making $3.5 million a year, Staal leads the group in points (14) while being one of three players over 30 years old, according to Cap Friendly.

They don’t have the superstar goaltender matchmaking problem that the Philadelphia Flyers are cursed with, but Minnesota has gone through their own growing pains with netminding in years past.

With Niklas Backstrom nearing the end of his career (with the benefit of hindsight), the starting gig competition was suppose to be a a compelling one between Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper.

When the Wild suited up five goalies in 2013-14, Harding was padding his resume with a 1.66 goals against average and .933 save percentage. But it was over before it started.

Harding was ruled out for the 2014-15 season and eventually retired as a result of having multiple sclerosis.

This allowed for the unexpected rise of Devan Dubnyk, who not only stole the top spot from Kuemper but earned the only all-star nod of his career with a 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage.

Dubnyk has not been the same since, stopping .877 of the shots he’s faced while allowing a career-high 3.57 goals per game and splitting time with Alex Stalock in 2019-20.

Minnesota has won the last four games in the head-to-head meeting with the Kings, outscoring Los Angeles 15-5 during that stretch.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Martinez-Doughty
Hutton-Walker
MacDermid-Roy

Quick

Minnesota Wild

Zucker-Staal-Zuccarello
Parise-Koivu-Fiala
Greenway-Eriksson Ek-Kunin
Donato-Rask-Hartman

Suter-Spurgeon
Brodin-Dumba
Soucy-Hunt

Stalock