Kings-Wild Game Preview: Midwest State of Mind
The Kings look to go 3-0 on their road trip, heading to Minnesota tonight to take on the resurgent Wild.
Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild (Xcel Energy Center)
Time: 5.00 PM
TV: Fox Sports West
Enemy reading: Hockey Wilderness
Wild (projected) lineup:
Injured: Harding (illness)
Kings (projected) lineup:
Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee)
- This is the first Kings-Wild game of this season, which is always a little fun, because you get to play a little game I like to call "who the heck are these guys". The only sort of unfamiliar name for the Wild is likely Charlie Coyle, whom you may remember for being a)the former Sharks prospect involved in the Setoguchi-Burns trade, or b)the possessor of probably the most hilarious Boston accent I've ever heard ("Chahhhlie").
- You also might recall that the Wild signed our old friend Zach Parise during the off-season. Luckily for him, he's gotten fairly experienced at losing to the Kings, so tonight should be no big deal for him.
- His hetero life partner Ryan Suter, having also jumped ship for an identical mega-deal, has been having a pretty, pretty good season in Minnesota, paired up with likely Calder nominee Jonas Brodin. They've been one of the best D pairings in the League this season and overcoming their efforts will be key for the Kings tonight.
- It looks like the Church of Mike Yeo has been restored in the State of Hockey. After a spectacular fall from grace that took the Wild from first in the League to out of the playoffs, the team is back in the thick of things in the West, battling the Canucks for the division lead and going on an eight-game win streak before last night's 5-3 loss to Dallas. As of today, the Wild have 42 points out of 33 games, 17 ROW, and a +10 goal differential (the Kings are 40/33, 18 ROW, and +15).
- That being said, the Wild are still running a 1007 PDO (11th in the League, 5th in the West) with a 47.42% FenClose (22nd in the League, 11th in the West). In other words, they're still out-lucking their actual puck possession ability, although they (like Anaheim) are running out of time to collapse before the end of this shortened season.
- As for the Kings, it appears as if things will be the same as they were in St. Louis, with Tyler Toffoli staying in and Dustin Penner relegated to the press box with Brad Richardson. On the one hand, there is something to be said for sticking with what works. On the other hand, this feels like a misuse of assets. Penner's a better player than some of the guys in the lineup - iirc, he was pretty effective on the fourth line - and, I mean, Jordan Nolan seems like a nice kid and all, but seriously.
- Matt Greene news! Read Niesy's take here.
- Justin Williams is the best.
- Go Kings Go