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Wild at Kings preview

Los Angeles will reclaim third in division with win against Minnesota

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

WILD (44-26-10) at KINGS (44-28-8)

10:30 p.m. ET; FS-N+, FS-W, NHL.TV 


The Game 

The Los Angeles Kings will move back into third place in the Pacific Division with a win against the Minnesota Wild at Staples Center on Thursday.

The Kings clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth when the St. Louis Blues lost Wednesday and are one point behind the Anaheim Ducks with two games remaining. The Kings hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Wild will finish third in the Central Division. Minnesota is one of three teams to make the playoffs in six consecutive seasons (Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins).


Players to watch

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has four points (one goal, three assists) during a three-game point streak. His 59 points (10 goals, 49 assists) are tied with his NHL career high set in 2009-10. 

Wild forward Zach Parise has 17 points (12 goals, five assists) in his past 20 games. Parise's seven-game point streak ended against Anaheim on Wednesday.


They said it

"The defensive effort has been really good, but you're not going to replace Ryan Suter no matter what you do. Like I've said, he's in the top five defensemen in the world." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on Suter, who is out for the season with a fractured right ankle

"You want to play in the playoffs, that's the most important thing, but you want your team game at a point where you can have success in the playoffs. There's still a lot at stake where we're going to finish, and there's still a lot at stake in terms of how we're playing heading into the playoffs." -- Kings coach John Stevens


Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Nino Niederreiter

Jordan Greenway -- Matt Cullen -- Charlie Coyle

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Daniel Winnik

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Nick Seeler -- Ryan Murphy

Carson Soucy -- Nate Prosser

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Tyler Ennis, Louis Belpedio

Injured: Gustav Olofsson (upper body), Jared Spurgeon (hamstring), Ryan Suter (fractured right ankle), Luke Kunin (torn ACL) 


Kings projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tobias Rieder -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford -- Adrian Kempe -- Trevor Lewis

Nate Thompson -- Michael Amadio -- Torrey Mitchell

Kevin Gravel -- Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez -- Christian Folin

Dion Phaneuf -- Paul LaDue

Jonathan Quick

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Sheldon Rempal, Daniel Brickley

Injured: Alex Iafallo (upper body), Jake Muzzin (upper body), Derek Forbort (lower body)


Status report

Stevens said Forbort is more week to week than day to day. … Olofsson will miss his fourth straight game, but Boudreau said he could return Saturday.


Stat pack

Brodin has a three-game assist streak. … Kopitar has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.

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