Wild and Kings try to build on big wins
Thursday, 10.08.2009 / 7:30 PM
WILD (1-1-0) at KINGS (1-1-0)
-- The Kings had the Wild's number last year, sweeping all four games in 2008-09.
-- Both teams are coming off big wins. The Kings jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the Sharks, saw San Jose
tied the score, but regrouped for a 6-4 win. The Wild trailed Anaheim 3-0 well into the third period of its home opener on Tuesday, but scored three times in regulation before Andrew Brunette's power-play goal in OT lifted Minnesota to a 4-3 win.
didn't get much time to enjoy its big comeback win. The Wild hit the road for a tough five-game western swing; after Los Angeles
they visit San Jose
"Lots of emotions, it was a great feeling after the game but today it's over with and it's done, " coach Todd Richards said at practice Wednesday. "We're focusing on getting better as a group and getting ready for L.A.."
Richards thinks it might not be such a bad thing to have a long trip right now. "I think players at the start of the year have more energy. I think Minnesota had a tough end to their schedule where they spent a lot of time on the road and it doesn't bode well when you're battling for a playoff position.
"I'd much rather have a road trip early on. We'll have a dinner in Anaheim, I know the guys are planning something on Sunday, we have a day off in San Jose, so they'll be doing something as a group and spend some time together."
Kings -- Any time you score six goals on the San Jose Sharks, you're doing something right -- except when you allow four on the power play, which the Kings also did. San Jose went 4-for-4 with a man-up. Phoenix went 1-for-3 in a 6-3 win at Staples Center on Saturday, meaning the Kings have killed just 2 of 7 opposition power plays.
Last year, it took until the seventh game of the season for anyone to score a power play goal on LA.
"I am (concerned),'' Murray told LAKings.com, "but as I said last night, I look at the way (the Sharks) move the puck around, and also the Phoenix team, the way they move the puck around on the power play. That was pretty good stuff. But we're a better penalty-kill team than what we've shown.
"We know that, from how it all came together last year. We've got to get better at it, there's no question.'' Meanwhile, the power play is 4-for-8 so far on the offensive end.
Injury Report -- Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard did not play Tuesday night after complaining about headaches. "We were without him last night, with him in the lineup it makes us a better team but it's a chance for some of these other guys to step and get some valuable ice time. Second line spot, power play, regardless there's some ice time to be had there."
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez missed Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury while defenseman Sean O'Donnell returns from a five-game suspension (three preseason, two regular-season) resulting from an altercation with the Islanders' Matt Martin.
Stat Pack -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is 3-0-0 lifetime vs. Minnesota with a 1.95 GAA. No.1 center Anze Kopitar has five points (2G, 3A) in his first two games.
Puck Drop -- It’s a big game for the Kings, who complete a season-opening three-game homestand and head East for a six-game road trip. The Wild will try to build on the biggest third-period comeback in franchise history.