Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 34 @ Minnesota, March 30, 2013, 5pm PST (8pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings have done it all this season (just go along with it) except for one thing. They have not faced the Minnesota Wild. On Saturday night, though, the Kings will pay a visit to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paulto open their season series with the new-look Wild.
Last season, the Kings won their season series against Minnesota going 2-1-1 and look to continue that success this season as after Saturday’s meeting, they meet the Wild again on Tuesday night, this time in Los Angeles.
The Wild will be a tired bunch as they had just played (and lost) in Dallas on Friday night where they saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end. But the Kings don’t play notoriously well against teams coming off games the previous night so while it may look like they have an advantage, they don’t. Instead, Los Angeles will just have to carry their momentum from their last two outings into Saturday night’s contest and work their way towards a third-straight victory.
Saturday will also mark the first time that Minnesota’s hot off-season acquisition Zach Parise will face the Kings since losing to them in last June’s Stanley Cup Final when he was a member of the New Jersey Devils. Parise has been playing great in his maiden season with the Wild and is a major reason why they are battling it out with the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the Northwest Division. Parise’s team-leading 14 goals is enough reason for the Kings to pay extra attention to the winger.
Someone else the Kings should watch out for is captain Mikko Koivu who leads the Wild with 31 points. Minnesota’s other big free agent acquisition last summer is also racking up enough points for teams to beware. Defenseman Ryan Suter’s three goals and 24 assists has the Wild strong enough at the back end to get back on the winning track.
After electing to start Matt Hackett in Dallas on Friday, Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom will be rested and ready to go between the pipes on Saturday. In 27 games, the Finnish backstop is 18-7-2 with a 2.72 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. For Los Angeles, don’t be surprised to see Jonathan Quick back between the pipes.
At 20-11-2, Minnesota sits in 4th in the West just two points ahead of Los Angeles in the conference standings, which makes this matchup all the more crucial. The 19-12-2 Kings look to continue their recent winning ways on the road and hope Saturday night will see them winning a third-straight game.
Enjoy the game!