LOS ANGELES – Victor Rask started the season on the Wild's fourth line.
But by the second game, he's already found himself a new home: centering the No.1 unit.
Rask will be play with wingers Zach Parise and Kirill Kaprizov Saturday at Staples Center when the Wild and Kings reunite for Round 2 after the Wild rallied for a 4-3 overtime win in the season opener Thursday.
During that game, Rask was promoted up the lineup after scoring an early third period goal that helped spur the team's come-from-behind victory. He buried a shot past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick after accepting a Kaprizov pass; Parise was setting the screen.
Later in the game, Rask even earned a shift in overtime – getting on the ice with Kaprizov ahead of Kaprizov's game-winning breakaway goal.
Rask's jump in opportunity comes after he was a frequent healthy scratch last season, including every playoff game.
"The camp that he had rolled into [Thursday], and he warranted getting more ice time," coach Dean Evason said after the first game. "He was real good and he's been from Day 1 of training camp."
This rematch with the Kings is the Wild's first look at one of the schedule tweaks this season that has the team playing each opponent at least twice in a row. A win would give the Wild its first 2-0 start since 2015-16.
"I like it," center Nick Bonino said. "It's like a mini playoffs where you're able to watch your game footage instead of new footage about a new team. I think it's good. You learn from it. You're able to come back quickly and play a familiar team. I definitely like it. I think travel-wise it's better too. It is a new wrinkle this year, but so far so good."
Zach Parise-Victor Rask-Kirill Kaprizov
Marcus Johansson-Nick Bonino-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Nico Sturm-Nick Bjugstad-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Carson Soucy-Greg Pateryn
10: Wins for the Wild in its last 17 games vs. the Kings.
0: Power play goals for the Wild in six opportunities Thursday.
3: Points for Kaprizov in his NHL debut.
4: Hits for winger Marcus Foligno Thursday, a game high.
4: Points for the Wild defense in the season opener.
About the Kings:
After blowing a two-goal lead to the Wild Thursday, the Kings could roll out a new lineup Saturday. Defensemen Kurtis MacDermid and Sean Walker are no longer in the NHL's COVID protocols and skated Saturday morning. Los Angeles relied heavily on No.1 defenseman Drew Doughty Thursday, with Doughty skating a game-high 29 minutes, 12 seconds. Up front, captain Anze Kopitar had a pair of assists. Fellow veteran Jeff Carter also had a two-point effort, scoring the Kings' first goal and adding an assist.