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Minnesota Wild vs. Los Angeles Kings

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GAME: Minnesota Wild (21-26-17-2) at Los Angeles Kings (25-18-15-7).

TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Defenseman Nathan Dempsey makes his debut for the Los Angeles Kings as they host the Minnesota Wild at Staples Center.

The Kings acquired Dempsey on Tuesday from Chicago, sending the Blackhawks a 2005 fourth-round draft pick and future considerations.

The 29-year-old had eight goals and 17 assists in 58 games for Chicago this season, leading the Blackhawks in average ice time with 23 minutes, 47 seconds.

The 6-foot, 191-pound Dempsey had five goals and 23 assists last season in his first full NHL campaign.

"Nathan fits in well with our current group of defensemen," Kings general manager Dave Taylor said. "He is mobile, and he moves the puck well. He has a good, all-around game, and we like that he has played in all situations with Chicago this season."

Dempsey should provide a boost to a Kings team hampered by injuries all season.

The Kings currently have nine players on injured reserve, including defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (shoulder), Aaron Miller (neck) and Jason Holland (thigh). Goalie Roman Cechmanek (groin) and winger Ziggy Palffy (shoulder) are among the other key players out of action.

Los Angeles lost 6-3 to Anaheim on Sunday, ending a four-game unbeaten streak.

Derek Armstrong, Joe Corvo and Jozef Stumpel scored for the Kings, who have 13 goals over their last five games.

The Wild are coming off Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks - their third defeat in six games (2-3-1). Manny Fernandez stopped 22 shots for Minnesota, which had scored 11 goals in its previous three games.

STANDINGS: Wild - 61 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Northwest Division. Kings - 72 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Sergei Zholtok, 13 goals; Andrew Brunette, 27 assists and 39 points; Matt Johnson, 151 PIM. Kings - Alexander Frolov, 20 goals; Jozef Stumpel, 26 assists; Frolov and Luc Robitaille, 42 points; Sean Avery, 225 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 2): Wild - Power play: 13.5 percent (35 for 260), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (195 for 232), 16th. Kings - Power play: 13.9 percent (40 for 287), 26th. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (230 for 285), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Dwayne Roloson (15-16-8, 4 SO, 1.96 GAA); Fernandez (6-12-9, 1, 2.51). Kings - Cristobal Huet (7-8-9, 3, 2.54); Mathieu Chouinard (0-0-0, 0, 0.00).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 1-0-2.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 10; Kings, 3-1. At Minnesota, Trent Klatt and Ian Laperriere each scored in the third period for the Kings. Cechmanek made 22 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 8-13-10-1 on the road; Kings - 13-9-8-1 at home.


Associated Press
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