Wild vs Kings Game Preview


After going 2-1 on a three game road trip down the Atlantic coastline, the Minnesota Wild return home to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings tonight at Xcel Energy Center. Puck drop is at 7 pm and the game can be seen on FSN.

The Wild are coming off a 4-1 drubbing of the hapless Florida Panthers and are looking to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Kings in their 4th game of the season. That game was highlighted by an astounding performance by Jonathon Quick in which he made 40 saves and posted a .976 SV%.

The Kings will play their third game in four nights as well as the second of a back-to-back that saw them lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Nashville Predators. Tonight will also see Quick return to the cage after a rare spot-start from backup Martin Jones.

[table id=17 /]

Based on the table above and the return of both Darcy Kuemper and Jonathon Quick, tonight’s contest has all the looks of a low-scoring affair. Both teams are extremely defensive minded with the ability to score in streaks. The Wild will happily return to the friendly (yet snowy) confines of their home rink especially with the Kings early season futility on the road. Just over a quarter of the way through the season, Los Angeles is yet to get a grip on the road as they have struggled to a 1-4-4 record away from Staples Center. As the Minnesota Wild are surging at home with a 7-1 record, this is arguably the most important statistic of the night when you consider the Kings are coming off a late game in Nashville last night.

Players to Watch

It’s difficult not to notice the work that Nino Niederreiter is putting in right now. He leads the Wild with 10 goals this season and has 7 points in his last 6 games. He’s been an integral part of getting the power play off the ground as well as he has 4 of the Wild’s 6 total goals with the man-advantage this season. Playing on a menacing forechecking line with Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula has paid dividends in the short time they have been together and will likely continue tonight as the Wild come back with a similar if not the exact same set.

If you look up and down the Kings active roster tonight, one name should be very visible to Wild fans. Justin Williams has been a Wild killer for years scoring 18 points in 23 career games against the team. After getting off to a very slow start to the season with a mere 2 points in October, Williams has flipped the switch and rattled off 8 points in 10 games in the month of November, including at least a point in each of his last 5 games. If the Kings are to break their road woes tonight against the home dominating Wild, you can bet Justin Williams will have his fingerprints all over it.


Tonight will mark the 600th career game for Wild defenseman Keith Ballard. Coincidentally , he is also celebrating his 32nd birthday today.


Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

Minnesota Wild

Los Angeles Kings