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Wild continue road trip in L.A.

by Sergei J. Feldman /

WILD (18-7-3) at KINGS (13-10-4)

TV: FS-North (HD), FS-Wisconsin (HD), FS-West (HD)

LAST 10: Minnesota 8-2-0; Los Angeles 5-4-1

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the two Western Conference foes. The Kings handled Minnesota 5-2 in L.A. on Nov. 12. Twelve Kings skaters had points.

Big Story : Take a quick glance at the NHL standings and you'll find the Minnesota Wild sitting alone at the top entering their second visit to Los Angeles. The Kings come in on a two-game losing streak after dropping a 3-2 decision at Anaheim on Tuesday.

Team Scope:

Wild : The League's top team has done little wrong all season and comes to Los Angeles riding a five-game winning streak. Among the biggest reasons has been the team's solid play both on home ice and on the road. On Tuesday, the Wild escaped San Jose with a 2-1 win thanks to rookie goaltender Matt Hackett, who stepped in when Josh Harding left with an injury 1:11 into the game and stopped all 34 shots he faced.

"Really impressive," coach Mike Yeo said of Hackett's NHL debut. "It's not an easy team to play against in your first game and it's not an easy situation to go in and play your first game. The way he handled it, he was in control all night."

Kings: The Kings come home for two games trying to find their offense -- Los Angeles hasn't scored more than two goals in its last six games and managed only two against their Southern California archrivals on Tuesday. Nor were they particularly lucky in Anaheim: An errant pass led to a turnover that resulted in one of the Ducks' goals, while a fluttering puck with under a minute left in the game found its way behind goaltender Jonathan Quick. A bit more offense and the bounces could begin to go the Kings' way.

"I thought we generated some opportunities here," coach Terry Murray said. "We had plenty of good looks and point-blank situations. I liked our attitude. If you do that consistently, you're going to get some more goals."

Who's Hot: Jonathan Quick was the NHL's Third Star last week and has allowed just nine goals on 167 shots in his last five games. … The Wild have been led by the play of Mikko Koivu, who has six points in his past five games and 13 in his last 10.

Injury Report: Goalies Niklas Backstrom (groin) and Harding (upper body) are day to-day. Also out for the Wild are Devin Setoguchi (lower body), Marek Zidlicky and Guillaume Latendresse (concussions). The Kings are without the services of Mike Richards (concussion). Justin Williams injured his hand blocking a shot on Tuesday and didn't practice Wednesday. Willie Mitchell (groin) and Alec Martinez (upper body) took part in practice on Wednesday, and Murray said one, but not both, might play. Scott Parse likely is gone for the rest of the season after hip surgery.

Stat Pack: The Wild and Kings rank third and fourth in the League, respectively, in goals allowed per game at 2.14 and 2.18. … A win would give the Wild six consecutive victories on the road, a franchise record.

Puck Drop: Murray coached his 1,000th NHL game the last time the Wild came to town. This time, he'll be going for his 500th career victory. A good omen: The Kings are 5-1-1 against the Wild in Minnesota's last seven visits to the Staples Center.

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