Tue, 02 Mar 2021

Wild look to turn the tide on Kings

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

After grinding out a road victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings look for two more points when they enter a rematch the Wild on Thursday at Saint Paul, Minn.

Tuesday's 2-1 result saw the Kings collect a season-low 21 shots against a Minnesota team that seemed to be getting stronger as the game progressed. The Wild outshot Los Angeles over the final two periods and equalized the score on Joel Eriksson Ek's goal less than two minutes into the third period.

However, Carl Grundstrom scored four minutes after Eriksson Ek's goal to put the Kings ahead for good.

In a sport where the little things often determine the outcome of a game, Kings coach Todd McLellan felt his team prevailed despite lacking in those finer details.

"Not the way we want to win tonight, but a win is a win," McLellan said. "The trenches, the stick battles, the body blows in the corners, the little 2- or 3-foot plays -- I think we have to get much better in those areas against this team and a lot of other teams. We're capable of it."

It was a far cry from the Kings' previous outing -- a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday that saw Los Angeles collect a season high in goals. Those two very different victories add up to a two-game win streak for the Kings and a 3-1-0 record over their last four games.

The Wild have come back to tie the score in the third period of all three of their meetings with the Kings. Minnesota rebounded from 3-1 deficits in a pair of 4-3 overtime wins over Los Angeles to begin the season but couldn't mount a comeback on Tuesday despite the offensive pressure.

A continued lack of power-play success again hampered the Wild. After going 0-for-3 with the man advantage on Tuesday, Minnesota has only two goals from 30 power-play chances this season.

Wild head coach Dean Evason said he plans to "stay the course" with his power-play unit for now, since he has liked his players' effort even if the results haven't yet materialized.

"Our chances on those power plays were tremendous. ... I guess if we could do something, it would be probably to get more pucks to the net, so there's some other opportunities there around that slot area," Evason said.

On the other side of the special teams equation, Minnesota's penalty kill has been almost perfect. The Wild are 21-for-23 in killing penalties this season.

Kaapo Kahkonen may receive his third straight start in net for Minnesota on Thursday, though Cam Talbot could be nearing a return. Talbot is expected to return to practice after missing the Wild's last two games with a lower-body injury.

Jonathan Quick will likely be the Kings' starting goaltender on Thursday as the team continues to alternate between Quick and Calvin Petersen. Tuesday's game saw Petersen deliver an impressive 32-save performance to hold the Wild at bay.

Eriksson Ek has five points (three goals, two assists) over his last four games.

Jeff Carter has a goal and four assists in three games against Minnesota this season, and only one assist in his other four games.

--Field Level Media

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