THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK
• The Wolves host LeBron James and the Lakers on Monday at Target Center, then Ricky Rubio's Jazz on Wednesday before embarking on a five-game road trip out West. It's early, but this feels like a defining stretch of games.
• Speaking of the road, the Wild is at Vancouver on Monday for the first of seven consecutive games away from Xcel Energy Center — a strange journey that includes five games out West and two different trips to St. Louis. Minnesota doesn't have another home game until Nov. 13.
• The Gophers men's hockey team has a home-and-away series with Minnesota State Mankato on Friday and Saturday. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 in the latest USCHO.com poll.