NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 28th (All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (19-16-3) at Los Angeles Kings (22-13-3), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Wild will attempt to match a club record for the most wins in a single month when they take on a Los Angeles Kings club that is looking to stretch a five-game winning streak over Minnesota tonight at Staples Center.
Though 11th in the Western Conference with 41 points, the Wild are 9-4-0 in December to match the most wins that franchise has ever posted in that month. Minnesota's club record for most victories in a single month is 10, set in March of 2007.
Minnesota will get three chances to match that mark, with two of those against Los Angeles. The clubs will also meet in Minnesota on New Year's Eve.
The Wild have won two straight and four of their last six after Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Blues. Guillaume Latendresse had two goals in the win for his first multi-goal game since March 19 while with the Canadiens.
Acquired from Montreal on November 23 after posting just two goals and three points in 23 games, Latendresse has four goals over his last four games and six in 13 contests with Minnesota.
Shane Hnidy and Kim Johnsson also lit the lamp for the Wild, while Niklas Backstrom stopped 15 shots.
"When you score four on a night, you should win those games," said Wild coach Todd Richards.
The Kings return home after a 1-3-0 road trip that ended with a 3-2 setback in Phoenix on Saturday. Michal Handzus had a goal and an assist while Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 32 stops in the loss.
Los Angeles was hitting the ice for the first time after an eight-day lay off.
"I think the first period is the hardest," Brown said. "Once you get by that first period, everyone has to focus on what they need to do. Short shifts are especially important after a layoff like that and keeping it simple. There were a few instances where we made it really hard on ourselves."
The Kings also return home down a man. Though they got Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds and Brandon Segal all back from injury, Justin Williams left Saturday's loss early in the first period due to a broken leg. Williams had to leave the ice on a stretcher and is to be further evaluated today.
Williams has eight goals and 16 assists in 33 games this year.
Los Angeles is 10-4-2 at home, where it has won three straight and five of its last six. They also picked up a 6-3 win over Minnesota at Staples Center on October 8 after taking all four meetings between the teams last year.
Smyth had two goals and an assist in that one, while Williams and Anze Kopitar both had a goal and two assists.
The Wild have also lost three straight and four of their last five at Los Angeles.
12/28 10:56:51 ET