Red-hot Wild make a stop in LA
The Minnesota Wild have won five straight road games since 2 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings back on Nov. 12.
Minnesota has revenge in mind tonight, as it pays another visit to Staples Center for a date with the Kings in the continuation of a five-game road trip. In that loss to LA last month, Alec Martinez, Dustin Brown, Simon Gagne and Matt Greene each scored in a four-goal second period for the Kings, winners in two straight and nine of 13 encounters with the Wild.
Colin Fraser also scored and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the win, while Cal Clutterbuck and Darroll Powe notched goals for Minnesota. Josh Harding started in net for the Wild, but was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 21 shots. Niklas Backstrom made 14 saves in relief and is currently injured. Harding just went down with an injury in Tuesday's 2-1 win at San Jose, finishing with seven saves on eight shots.
Wild rookie goaltender Matthew Hackett was forced into action and lifted some eyebrows during his NHL debut with 34 saves.
"Really impressive," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said of Hackett on the club's website. "It's not an easy team to play against in your first game and it's not an easy situation to go in and play your first game. The way he handled it, he was in control all night."
Mikko Koivu scored and Pierre-Marc Bouchard cashed in on the power play to lift the Wild to their fifth straight win and 10th in 12 tries. Koivu has recorded a point in nine of his previous 10 games. The last time the Wild won six in a row overall was at the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
The Northwest Division-leading Wild are 2-0 on the homestand, 8-3-2 as the guest and lead the league with 39 points and 18 wins. They will also visit Phoenix and Winnipeg on the swing, and a win tonight in LA would set a team record for consecutive road victories (6).
Los Angeles is back home for two straight games versus Minnesota and Dallas, and sports an 8-7-1 record as the host. It is third in the Pacific Division, three points behind the frontrunning Coyotes and one point in back of Dallas for second place.
The Kings have lost two in a row and four of their last six games, including Tuesday's 3-2 loss at Anaheim. Slava Voynov and Justin Williams both scored and Quick turned aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced in defeat. Quick, though, has yielded just nine goals on 167 shots in his last five games (2-2-1).
"We need to play more guys around the net," said Williams. "We played a good game, but they got a weird bounce and found a way to win."
LA hasn't scored more than two goals in any of its last six games.