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Sunday's got the Kings a Minnesota matinee

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

WILD (2-1-0) at KINGS (3-1-1)


WILD TIMES: This is the first of three meetings with Minnesota this season. The Wild come into today’s contest with a 2-1-0 record. After beating the Colorado Avalanche twice to begin the season, both of those wins shutouts, Minnesota fell to the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 Friday night at Honda Center. This will be just Minnesota’s second game played in the past eight days.

MCNABB STAYS FOR MUZZIN: Though he’s been skating with the team regularly the past few days, Jake Muzzin will once again be out of the Kings’ lineup. Muzzin is still waiting to be cleared by doctors since he suffered the injury on October 2 during a preseason game in Colorado Springs. Brayden McNabb will fill Muzzin’s role again today. Trevor Lewis, who is on IR, and Marian Gaborik, who did not participate in practice Saturday, will also be out of today’s lineup.

BACKSTROM BACK IN: Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom will make his first start since January 11 of last season after undergoing corrective core muscle surgery in February. Backstrom faced the Kings in one game last season, making 16 saves in a Kings 3-2 shootout win on October 3, 2013. Can the Kings pounce on Minnesota’s veteran goalie as he makes his first start in over 10 months?


DREARY DAYS: Today marks the first of eight day games the Kings will play at STAPLES Center this season. The following six are scheduled for 1:00PM, the eighth and final will be like today, 12:00PM. Afternoon games for the Kings, especially at STAPLES Center, haven’t a pretty combo in recent years. Per Jon Rosen, the Kings improved immensely last year playing in afternoon slots. Coming into the 2013-’14 season, the Kings, under Darryl Sutter, were 2-5-1 against opponents during the afternoon. Last season, they went a solid 5-2-0 during the daylight. Can the Kings keep their winning ways rolling under the sun?

ELECTRIC WORK: The Kings, who were 0-for-4 on the power play Thursday night against St. Louis, are 1-for-15 on the season. Tanner Pearson has scored the lone power play goal for the Kings so far, beating Edmonton’s Ben Scrivens Tuesday night. The Wild come into tonight perfect on the penalty kill, 11-for-11 through three games. Can the Kings snap Minnesota’s PK streak, and get their power play in tune today at STAPLES Center?

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In three meetings with Minnesota last season, the Kings went 1-1-1. The Kings won the only matchup played in Minnesota, 3-2 in a shootout, but fell in both games played at STAPLES Center – once in regulation time, and once in a shootout. The Kings faced three different goaltenders in each game against Minnesota last season, Niklas Backstrom, Darcy Kuemper, and Ilya Bryzgalov. In every meeting with the Wild last season, the winning club trailed in the third period.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 11:30AM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop at 12:00PM PT.

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