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Pominville set to make Wild debut in L.A.

by John Kreiser

WILD (21-13-2) at KINGS (20-13-3)


Last 10: Minnesota 7-3-0; Los Angeles 6-3-1

Season series: It's the second meeting in five days after the teams didn't see each other for one day less than a year. The Wild won 4-3 in a shootout at home this past Saturday.

Big story: The Los Angeles Kings return home after a five-game trip that ended with a 3-1 loss at Phoenix on Tuesday that all but assured that they won't catch Anaheim in the race for first place in the Pacific Division. The Minnesota Wild are hanging onto the top spot in the Northwest Division despite losing 5-2 at San Jose on Wednesday night -- but they should have their newest acquisition, forward Jason Pominville, available for the game.

Team Scope:

Wild: Pominville will wear No. 29 and is expected to be in the lineup; he's likely to play right wing with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise.

Parise played against Pominville regularly during his time in New Jersey, and they skated on the same line during the World Championship five years ago.

He says bringing Pominville from a losing situation to a team battling for a division title should give the former Buffalo captain a boost.

"I think you look at the way he's been used," Parise said. "He plays power play, he plays penalty kill. He puts pucks in the net, he makes plays and he gets points.

"He plays an all-around game."

To bounce back after the loss in San Jose, the Wild need to get off to a better start -- they never led and were in a two-goal hole in the second period.

"Another bad start," Parise said. "It's been a common theme the last while. Not good when you are playing these teams. This team won [five] in a row. When you are playing these teams, they are doing everything they can to get into the playoffs. I don't think we expected any easy games, but our starts are killing us."

Kings: L.A. should have its own newcomer in the lineup on Thursday. The Kings landed veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr from the Sabres on Monday, and he practiced with his new team on Wednesday.

Regehr was happy to be with a contender -- and pleased to be reunited with Darryl Sutter, who coached him in Calgary.

"I'm really, really happy for a few different reasons," he told the Kings' website when asked about the being traded. "First of all, being in a position to win again and with a team that has proven it can do it in the past and wants to do it again. So I'm very excited about that, and also familiar with Darryl as a coach and knowing his style and how demanding he is, and a couple of the players even from previous hockey experiences."

Who's hot: Dany Heatley has goals in both of Minnesota's games this week. … L.A.'s Justin Williams has a four-goal goal-scoring streak. Dustin Brown has five points in his past five games.

Injury report: Minnesota center Matt Cullen missed the game in San Jose with a lower-body injury. … Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said the knee injury that has sidelined defenseman Willie Mitchell since January might keep him from playing again this season. Defenseman Matt Greene (back) could return before the end of the regular season, and forward Dustin Penner is dealing with a lower-body injury.

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