Wild-Los Angeles game preview

  • Updated: February 24, 2011 - 12:54 AM

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Preview: The Wild, coming off a 2-0-1 homestand, hits the road for back-to-back games in Southern California. Its two opponents, the Kings and Ducks, played each other Wednesday night. L.A. entered the game on an 8-1-3 streak. The Wild is 4-1-1 in its past six against the Kings. This is the fourth and final meeting, with the previous three going to overtime. Each team has a shootout win, and Brent Burns scored his franchise-record fifth overtime goal in L.A. on Dec. 11.

Players to watch: RW Martin Havlat has scored goals in three consecutive games, but he has only six points in 10 games at Staples Center and is minus-11. If G Niklas Backstrom starts, he's 7-3-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and two shutouts since Jan. 19. RW Cal Clutterbuck leads the NHL with 272 hits, and D Greg Zanon is second with 155 blocked shots. Before Wednesday, C Anze Kopitar was tied for 13th in the NHL with 55 points. Wingers Justin Williams and Dustin Brown each had 20 goals. LW Ryan Smyth has 34 points in 50 games against Minnesota.

Numbers: Since Dec. 31, the Wild has the best penalty kill in the NHL, dousing 89.6 percent of opposing power plays. ... The Wild has the NHL's sixth-ranked power play, but the Kings have the NHL's sixth-best penalty kill. ... Ten of the past 15 games between these teams have been decided by one goal, with six going into overtime.

Injuries: Wild C Kyle Brodziak (ill) is doubtful; C Mikko Koivu (broken finger), D Cam Barker (upper body) and LW Guillaume Latendresse (sports hernia, hip) are out. Kings RW Scott Parse (hip) is out.

MICHAEL RUSSO

  • 9:30 P.M. AT LOS ANGELES • STAPLES CENTER • FSN, 830-AM
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