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Kings finally return home to host Wild

by Brian Compton /
WILD (32-22-6) at KINGS (33-23-4)

TV: Fox Sports-North, Fox Sports-West.

Last 10: Minnesota 6-3-1; Los Angeles 6-1-3.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Minnesota is 2-0-1 against Los Angeles this season, and all three games have required more than regulation to be decided.

Big Story: Home, sweet home.

The Kings have been on the road all month long, but the 10-game trip came to a close on Wednesday night when they beat the Anaheim Ducks by a 2-1 score at the Honda Center. Los Angeles finished the trip with a record of 6-1-3 and has moved into sixth place in the Western Conference.

"It's been a great road trip," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "That's 15 points out of a possible 20, that's a nice road trip. It's important that we keep our focus on how that happened -- the hard work, the intensity, the concentration every game to bring it every day and do things right."

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota has earned points in three straight games (2-0-1) and is coming off a 4-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night. Pierre-Marc Bouchard's spin-o-rama tally highlighted a three-goal, third-period outburst for the Wild, who currently reside in fifth place in the Western Conference.

"We weren't our best for the first two periods," forward Kyle Brodziak said. "There were a lot of execution things we weren't happy with. We were turning the puck over a lot. We knew, just talking it over with everyone, we had another level to get to. We definitely took it there in the third."

Kings: One of the biggest reasons why Los Angeles was so successful on this long road trip was because everybody contributed.

Willie Mitchell snapped a 2-2 tie with just his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 28 at Dallas to help the Kings beat Anaheim on Wednesday night. His slap shot from the top of the left circle sailed through traffic and found the top right corner of the net at 6:45.

Los Angeles won five of seven one-goal games on its 10-game road trip.

"That is something we are starting to do a better job of because we are not a high-scoring team," Mitchell said. "That is something we really have to focus on and have it be the strength of our hockey club."

Who's Hot: Bouchard had a goal and two assists for the Wild on Tuesday night. He has earned points in two of his last three games. … Kings forward Justin Williams had a pair of assists against the Ducks. He now has points in three of his last four contests.

Injury Report: Wild center Mikko Koivu is out three weeks due to a broken finger. Guillaume Latendresse (groin), James Sheppard (knee) and Josh Harding (ACL/MCL) are also out. … Kings forward Scott Parse is out with a hip injury.

Stat Pack: Tuesday's victory was Minnesota's 15th straight on home ice against the Oilers.

Puck Drop: "Ever since they brought the shootout in and the extra point, it has just gotten so much tighter. There are a lot of one-goal games, just like tonight, and it's going to be like that from here on out." -- Kings right wing Justin Williams

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