WILD THING: Tonight marks the first of three meetings against Minnesota this season; the Wild will visit again on January 21 and the Kings will travel to St. Paul on March 22. After starting the season with a two-game home stand, Minnesota is playing the second of a three-game road trip through Arizona and California; the Wild are 3-0-0 this season, they’re coming off of a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night. The Kings are playing the fourth of their five-game home stand where they’ve gone 0-3-0 so far, they’re coming off of a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.
AVOIDING HISTORY: For the first time since the 1969-’70 season, the Kings have started a season with three consecutive regulation losses. Never in the club’s 48-year history has the team started a season with a 0-4-0 start. The Kings have been outscored 12-2 in their three losses to start the season, can they avoid making club history with a win tonight against the Wild?
LINEUP: According to how the Kings skated this morning at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, here’s how tonight’s lineup should pan out:
GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – SHORE – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
FORBORT – EHRHOFF
NOTES: Matt Greene
remained on the ice after practice with Jordan Weal
, so those two are expected to be out of tonight’s lineup … Jonathan Quick
left the ice first, he is tonight’s presumed starting goaltender … Dustin Brown
will remain on the first line with Anze Kopitar
and Marian Gaborik
… Milan Lucic
will once again skate on the second line with Tyler Toffoli
and Jeff Carter
… Derek Forbort
will make his NHL debut tonight, skating with Christian Ehrhoff
on the Kings’ third D-pairing.
DEREK’S DEBUT: Defenseman Derek Forbort, who the Kings selected #15 overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, will make his NHL debut tonight. Forbort, following the draft, played three seasons in the WCHA with the University of North Dakota, then two-plus seasons with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. Forbort was called up to the Kings midway through the 2014-’15 campaign, but never appeared in a game. Forbort, a native of Duluth, Minnesota, will get to play in his first NHL game against the team closest to his local family and friends.
KUEMPER: Former Ontario Reign goaltender Darcy Kuemper will get the call in net for the Wild tonight. In eight games with Ontario in 2011-'12, Kuemper went 7-1-0 with a 1.74 GAA.
POWER’S OUT: The Kings, who have only scored two goals through three games this season, have also gone 0-13 on the power play. “I think we need more time with the puck,” Darryl Sutter said when addressing the Kings’ man-advantage Friday morning. “I think we’ve spent a lot of time going 200 feet up and down the ice instead of battling for the puck and not thinking about the fancy play. Two games ago, I think we had good looks, and this last game we didn’t.” Minnesota is 9-12 in penalty-kill situations this season.
BABY VS BLOGGER: Who will TRH baby pick to win tonight’s game?! You can read the entire Royal Half Gameday preview HERE!
MINNESOTA MARIAN: Marian Gaborik was selected #3 overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild, where he played eight seasons before spending four years with the New York Rangers, and parts of two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In seven games against his former club, Gaborik has recorded 1G, 2A – and is 4-3-0. With the Kings, Gaborik is 1-2-0, with one assist.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 7:00 PM on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. Like always, you can listen to the Kings’ very own Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson call the game live on the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.