NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 8th (All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (1-1-0) at Los Angeles Kings (1-1-0), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings hope to continue their recent dominance of the Minnesota Wild when the two clubs square off Thursday night from Staples Center.
Both teams are meeting for the first time since the Kings went 4-0 in last year's series. Minnesota, though, had won seven of the previous eight meetings before Los Angeles swept the 2008-09 season set.
Los Angeles will wrap up a season-opening three-game homestand tonight and is coming off Tuesday's 6-4 victory over the talented San Jose Sharks. Teddy Purcell netted the eventual game-winning goal with 5:10 remaining in regulation, while Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds and Jack Johnson also scored for the Kings, who blew a 4-0 lead before Purcell put Los Angeles on top for good.
"We're glad that we stayed composed and are pleased to get the win, but the penalty kill has to be better," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "(Our weak penalty killing) put the game in jeopardy and it shouldn't have been that way. For the most part, the guys stayed composed and we came back to win the game."
Jonathan Quick made 25 stops in the victory, as the Kings rebounded from their season-opening loss to Phoenix on Saturday. Los Angeles will begin a six-game road trip after Thursday's tilt versus the Wild.
Kings blueliner Sean O'Donnell is eligible to return for Thursday's game after serving a two-game suspension.
Minnesota will open a five-game trek tonight and posted a 4-3 overtime win Tuesday versus the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center. Andrew Brunette scored on the power play just over three minutes into the extra period to help the Wild erase a three-goal deficit.
Mikko Koivu, Petr Sykora and Eric Belanger all scored in the third period for the Wild, who have won eight straight home openers and bounced back from a season-opening loss at Columbus.
"For 40 minutes we weren't very good," said Wild coach Todd Richards, who earned his first NHL victory. "That second period really got away from us. And I think the players felt that way too. But they certainly made up for it in the third."
Niklas Backstrom needed to make just 16 saves in a winning effort and forward Martin Havlat had three assists to bring his total to 400 career points.
The Wild will visit the Sharks, Ducks, Oilers and Canucks on the road swing.
Minnesota center Pierre-Marc Bouchard (headaches) is questionable for Thursday's game against Los Angeles. Bouchard had 46 points in 71 games last season.
10/08 10:55:57 ET