The Wild start a long West Coast trip tonight against the Kings. Both teams come into the game with 2 points. So far the Kings seem to be the better offensive team (as expected) and the Wild the better defensive team.
After two brutal periods against the Ducks, Richards changed up the lines paring Belanger, Havlat and Sykora in one line and Koivu,Brunette and Clutterbuck in the other. Which leaves Nolan on the 3rd line with Sheppard and Miettinen. The result: Bottled lightning. 3 goals in the third, one in OT for the win.
Looking at the stats for the first two games the Kings and Wild are nearly equal in shots for and shots against. However, the Kings have scored 4 more goals and given up 5 more. What that tells me that the Kings are either getting better looks or converting at a higher rate than the Wild, or both. This may be due to better offensive talent or just simple circumstances and luck. I believe the Wild is the more talented team.
Look for the the Wild to get 40+ shots on goal tonight , scoring another 4 goals. I feel like the Kings defense is weak and the Wild will get plenty of opportunities. It also seems the Quick is off to a slow start giving up 4 and 6 goals in two games and only a .831 SV%.
The other side of the coins says the Wild might have some trouble keeping the Kings off of the board. The Kings have 4 powerplay goals already this season, so staying out of the box will be important for the Wild. Add to that, that they posted 6 goals against the Sharks in their last outing and the Kings are off to a quick start on offense.
Players to watch:
LA- Anze Kopitar (3 point in their last game)
MN- Cal Clutterbuck (pormoted to top 2 line), Nolan (Possibly 3rd liner now), and Havlat (4 assists againt the Ducks).
This could be a fairly high scoring game, perhaps 9-10 goal combined. However, if the Wild can get the upperhand on defense it could be a sound victory for them. Expect a high action game.