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Preview: Wild at Kings

Darcy Kuemper expected to start for Minnesota; solving power play focus for Los Angeles

by Abbey Mastracco / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (24-9-4) at KINGS (19-16-4)

4 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-N, FS-WI, NHLN, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau returns to Southern California to play the Los Angeles Kings before facing the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since he was fired by them on April 29. "It's hard to say with a straight face that this is just another road trip," Boudreau said. "It's exciting to come back to where you once lived and see people you like. It's a special weekend." The Wild have won 13 of their past 14 games, including 12 straight from Dec. 4-29, and scored at least five goals in five of those games. Minnesota came back twice in a 5-4 win at the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. "Because they've had success this year, they feel they can come back and win," Boudreau said. "The last two weeks, we've had a lot of leaking buckets in our game. We've had [comebacks], but it's always nice to know that they've got the ability to, and if they believe they can, then it's a real positive thing."

Video: MIN@DAL: Kuemper stops Cracknell and rebound in front

 

Kings team scope

The Kings changed their lines in practice Friday but there may be nothing to read into it. Power-play systems were emphasized in practice and many of the changes may be specific to special teams. "I think the power play, it's a hot and cold deal," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It goes by seasons. If you look at our team, our personnel hasn't changed dramatically… Hey, it changes, but I'm more interested in the power play scoring big goals. That's sort of the way I look at it." Sutter said the power-play practice was scheduled in advance and doesn't have anything to do with how they've played recently. Forward Jeff Carter, who has 21 goals, leads the Kings with seven power-play goals, but no one else has more than two. Los Angeles is 4-for-24 in the past 10 games.

Video: SJS@LAK: Carter beats Jones over glove with wrister

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Nino Niederreiter

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Jason Pominville -- Erik Haula -- Charlie Coyle

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba 

Marco Scandella -- Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Christian Folin, Kurtis Gabriel

Injured: Victor Bartley (triceps)

 

Kings projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Anze Kopitar -- Jeff Carter

Marian Gaborik -- Nic Dowd -- Dustin Brown

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Jordan Nolan

Kyle Clifford -- Trevor Lewis -- Andy Andreoff

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Kevin Gravel

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Devin Setoguchi, Matt Greene, Tom Gilbert

Injured: Jonathan Quick (groin), Tyler Toffoli (lower body)

 

Status report

Niederreiter was moved to the top line at right wing with Parise and Staal against the Sharks and will stay there Saturday. "I like the way he protected the puck on the boards," Boudreau said. "He was giving the puck up on the left side, so I thought maybe on the right side he wouldn't give it up." … Kuemper will start for the Wild, and Dubnyk will play Sunday in Anaheim.

 

Who's hot

Koivu has three goals and five assists in the past five games. … Granlund has five goals and 12 assists in his past 13 games. … Spurgeon has four points (two goals, two assists) in four games. … Pearson has three goals and three assists in the past seven games. … Carter has seven goals and two assists in the past eight games.

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