Wild goalie Alex Stalock will be back between the pipes as the team returns home to host the Kings Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
Starter Devan Dubnyk remains out with an upper-body injury suffered Tuesday when he fell on his back after a collision in the crease. Kaapo Kahkonen will back up Stalock.
“He’s doing fine, as fine as he could be,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Dubnyk. “He’s not ready to play yet, but he’s practicing and he’ll be ready to play next week.”
Although Dubnyk is still recovering, the Wild is starting to get a bit healthier.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek will return to the lineup Saturday after missing three games with a lower-body injury. To active Eriksson Ek from injured reserve, the Wild opened up a roster spot by sending center Gabriel Dumont to the American Hockey League.
Winger Ryan Hartman will also play after taking a maintenance day Friday, while winger Jordan Greenway (upper-body injury) is still out. Boudreau said Greenway will be ready to play next week.
Although the team is coming off a 4-0 loss to the Predators Thursday in Nashville, its last two home appearances have been wins.
Not falling behind to the Kings would help the Wild rediscover that rhythm.
“When things aren’t going well, we’re getting frustrated because we can’t score,” Boudreau said. “We can take the Nashville game for example. The first period we played extremely well and didn’t give them any scoring chances and you get behind the eight-ball and your shoulders slumping and go, ‘Oh man, what do we have to do?’ When things are going well, we’re playing with a lead and playing with confidence.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Donato-Victor Rask-Gerald Mayhew
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
2: Wins in three home games for the Wild.
1-2-1: Record for goalie Alex Stalock in four career starts vs. the Kings.
97: Career assists for winger Jason Zucker.
4: Points last season for captain Mikko Koivu vs. the Kings in 2018-19.
34: Points for Kings captain Anze Kopitar in 45 career games against the Wild.
About the Kings:
Like the Wild, it’s been a tough start for the Kings. They’re 4-7, with two of their victories in their last three games. Most recently, Los Angeles was upended 5-2 in St. Louis on Thursday. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has had a particularly rough debut. He’s 2-4 with a 4.39 goals-against average and .854 save percentage. Kopitar is one point shy of 900 for his career.