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Kings-Wild Preview

NHL.com @NHL

Coming off a grueling road trip, the Minnesota Wild are likely excited to return home to the Xcel Energy Center, where they are undefeated this season.

The Wild look to win six straight home games in a single season for the first time in franchise history Wednesday when they host the slumping Los Angeles Kings.

Minnesota (7-1-0) opened the season with its first five games at home before embarking on a three-game road trip over a four-day span last week. The Wild finished the road trip with two wins, but lost star right wing Marian Gaborik in the third period of Friday's 2-1 loss at Anaheim with a mild groin strain.

Gaborik - who has four goals and three assists - will probably be sidelined another 10 to 14 days, according to a statement Monday by the team.

Despite the injury to Gaborik, the Wild defeated San Jose 4-1 on Saturday in an early season meeting between two of the Western Conference's most promising teams.

"There was a long list of reasons why we shouldn't have showed up," said Manny Fernandez, who made 31 saves. "But the guys bore down and came up with a lot of energy. We played well defensively."

Fernandez has been outstanding this season, going 6-1 with a 1.60 goals-against average and one shutout.

"Manny was excellent," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "I know he's on top of his game lately."

Fernandez is 4-0 with a 1.77 GAA at the Xcel Energy Center, allowing just three goals in his last three games.

Minnesota finished with the 10th-worst home record last season at 23-16-2, but has outscored opponents 19-10 in its five home wins.

The Wild have won eight straight at home, where they play four of their next five games, dating back to last season.

Brian Rolston scored a goal against the Sharks on Saturday, and leads Minnesota with six goals.

Rolston also scored a goal in the Wild's 2-1 overtime victory last Wednesday over the Kings (3-5-2), and Fernandez turned aside 34 shots. He is 5-4-2 with one tie and a 2.62 GAA in his career against Los Angeles.

The Kings allowed five second-period goals in their 6-1 loss Monday to Colorado, and have lost back-to-back games. They were outshot 37-28 and allowed three power-play goals in six penalty kills.

"We allowed too many chances and two many power plays to a team that can capitalize on them," Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said.

The Kings have lost six of their last seven games, scoring just one goal in five of those contests.

Starting goalie Dan Cloutier allowed all six goals on 32 shots against Colorado before being pulled before the start of the third period. Cloutier is 1-4-1 with a 3.73 GAA this season, and has a 4.11 GAA during his four-game losing streak.

Backup goalie Mathieu Garon is 2-1-1 with a 1.59 GAA and a shutout, and has allowed one goal or less in three of his outings.

Cloutier took the loss against the Wild, and is 7-9-1 with three ties and a 2.55 GAA lifetime against them, while Garon is 4-2 with a 2.77 GAA all-time against Minnesota.

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