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Kings continue trip in Minnesota

by John Kreiser

KINGS (19-12-2) at WILD (20-11-2)

TV: FS-West; FS-North; FS-Wisconsin

Last 10: Los Angeles 6-4-0; Minnesota 8-2-0

Season series: Amazingly, it's been almost a year to the day since these teams faced off. Saturday's game is the first of three meetings in a 24-day span. The teams split four games last season.

Big story: The Kings got to spend the night in the Twin Cities while the Wild were losing 5-3 in Dallas, ending their seven-game winning streak. While the Kings have almost no chance to win their division, the Wild are just two points behind Vancouver in the Northwest with a game in hand.

Team Scope:

Kings: The Kings had a loosey-goosey skate at a local rink in the Twin Cities on Friday after winning 4-2 in St. Louis the night before. L.A. is 2-0-0 on its road trip this week, with both game-winners coming in the final three minutes of regulation.

The victory in St. Louis saw the Kings outshoot the usually stingy Blues 40-22, a performance that left coach Darryl Sutter happy with the way all of his lines are contributing.

"I think it was pretty well distributed through our lineup," he said Friday when asked about the fusillade of shots in St. Louis. "We've been getting a lot of shots the last seven or eight games -- [we are] trying to continue that."

Wild: This is Minnesota's third game in four nights and fourth in six. The Wild won at Dallas on Monday, beat Phoenix in overtime at home on Wednesday and lost in a second trip to Dallas on Friday night. Coach Mike Yeo felt the schedule might have caught up with his team, which appeared to run out of gas in the third period against a team that had been off for three days.

"Let's be honest here, that was a team that sat here and practiced and got ready for us," Yeo said. "We knew that we were going to face their best game tonight. For many parts of the game, we were doing a lot of good things and we gave ourselves a chance. But in the end, we didn't get `er done."

The Wild will have a well-rested goaltender. Starter Niklas Backstrom stayed home to give him two days off before the Kings come to town.

Who's hot: L.A. captain Dustin Brown has goals in both games on the trip. … Wild captain Mikko Koivu was in the box for two power-play goals in Dallas, but had an assist to extend his points streak to six games -- he has three goals and six assists in that span.

Injury report: The Kings are still without two of their defensive regulars, Marr Greene (back) and Willie Mitchell (knee). … Minnesota is healthy except for backup goaltender Josh Harding, who's dealing with the effects of multiple sclerosis, though he did take some shots at practice on Thursday.

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