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TIME: Tuesday, 8 p.m. EST.
Trying to move into first place in the Pacific Division will not be easy, but the Los Angeles Kings are making a push with a string of dramatic wins.
The Kings have won four straight games, including their first two after the Olympic break, as they head to the Xcel Energy Center to face the Minnesota Wild.
Los Angeles has posted 3-2 victories over both the Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets since the break, scoring in the final six minutes to win each game. The Kings trail Dallas by 10 points in the division race.
Lubomir Visnovsky broke a 2-2 tie with 2:36 remaining to defeat the Wild on Thursday. Then on Saturday against Columbus, Michael Cammalleri scored the game-winner on the power play with 5:55 left.
Los Angeles squandered 2-1 leads into the final period of both contests.
"We've had letdowns with the lead lately," defenseman Aaron Miller said. "I think we've been playing on our heels a little bit too much instead of going after that next goal. At least we're not packing it in. We're getting the wins. But, yeah, it's something we're going to have to fix. We're going to have to be a better team when we have the lead."
Minnesota faces an uphill climb to earn a Western Conference playoff spot, and didn't help its cause by opening post-Olympic play with three straight road losses, including Thursday's matchup in Los Angeles.
The Wild rebounded nicely on Sunday, earning a 5-3 home win over the Colorado Avalanche. Marian Gaborik's short-handed goal broke a 3-3 tie in the third period.
Gaborik rarely kills penalties, but he had to take a shift when defenseman Kris Foster took a double minor for high sticking.
"He hadn't been playing well defensively, so when I put him out there, it was a risk," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, who earned his 400th NHL win. "But we had four minutes to go, so I couldn't go with just four guys, I had to go with six guys."
Gaborik has five goals in four games since the Olympics. He scored both Minnesota goals in last Thursday's loss at Los Angeles, and has four goals and an assist in two games against the Kings this season.
STANDINGS: Kings - 73 points, 2nd place, 10 PB, Pacific Division. Wild - 65 points, 5th place, 12 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Pavol Demitra, 22 goals; Visnovsky, 42 assists; Demitra, Craig Conroy and Visnovsky, 57 points; Sean Avery, 209 PIM. Wild - Gaborik, 29 goals; Brian Rolston, 39 assists and 64 points; Derek Boogaard, 137 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 15.5 percent (64 for 413), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (302 for 385), 27th. Wild - Power play: 17.6 percent (63 for 357), 19th. Penalty killing: 89.1 percent (310 for 348), 1st.
GOALTENDERS: Kings - Mathieu Garon (25-15-3, 2 SO, 3.02 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (9-8-2, 0, 3.26). Wild - Manny Fernandez (24-11-4, 1, 2.21); Dwayne Roloson (6-17-1, 1, 3.00).
SEASON SERIES: Kings, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 2; Kings 3-2. At Los Angeles, Visnovsky scored what proved to be the game-winner with just 2:36 remaining. Gaborik scored twice for Minnesota, including the tying goal to make it 2-2 with 4:43 left.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 13-14-4 on the road; Wild - 18-12-1 at home.