wild gameday


Preview: This will be the first meeting of the season with the defending Stanley Cup champions. After a slow start to the season, the Kings have turned the corner and have won five of their past seven. The Wild is 12-3-1 at home, 8-1-1 in the past 10. The Wild has trailed for a total of 3 minutes, 4 seconds the past six games. Three of the past four meetings in St. Paul have been decided by a shootout (Wild is 2-1).

Players to watch: G Niklas Backstrom will start. He is tied for the league lead with 18 wins and is 15-3-1 in his past 19 starts with a 2.14 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. F’s Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise have combined for 12 goals and 34 points at home. Kings C Anze Kopitar is tied for 24th in the NHL with 31 points. C Jeff Carter has the most goals (18) in the Western Conference. D Slava Voynov is tied for seventh among defensemen with 21 points. Jake Muzzin leads rookie defensemen with six goals.

Numbers: The King are the seventh-best offensive team in the NHL (2.91 goals per game) and 10th-best defensive team (2.46). … The Wild is 3-2 in the second of back-to-backs this season. … The Wild is 19-15-10 all-time vs. the Kings, 9-7-6 at home.

Injuries: G Josh Harding (symptoms related to multiple sclerosis) is out. Kings D Willie Mitchell (knee) and D Matt Greene (back) are out.