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Wild hope to solidify playoff positioning vs. Kings

by Eric Goodman /

KINGS (26-14-5) at WILD (24-18-3)


Last 10: Los Angeles 6-2-2; Minnesota 3-6-1

Season series: The teams split the previous two of this three-game series with each getting a win on its respective home ice. The Minnesota Wild seek to establish a three-game home winning streak against the Los Angeles Kings.

Big story: Minnesota is focused on gaining its first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2007-08 season and will try to earn two points over Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Kings already qualified for the playoffs and seek to secure the fourth seed and home-ice advantage for the first round.

Team Scope:

Kings: With wins in four of its last five games, Los Angeles is hitting its stride at just the right time. But the road hasn't been a place of success for the Kings recently as they hope to avoid a fifth straight loss away from Staples Center. Los Angeles will also try to establish a three-game winning streak when it visits Minnesota.

The Kings had a two-goal lead over the Dallas Stars in the second period of its most recent game Sunday, but ended up down 3-2 at the beginning of the third. But the team leader in goals, Jeff Carter, sealed the 4-3 victory with a tip-in goal tallied less than a minute left in overtime.

"Giving up a two-goal lead and then falling behind and being able to come back and win is a good response by our group," team captain Dustin Brown said.

Wild: Minnesota continues its three-game homestand Tuesday as it tries to avoid both a third straight loss overall and the sixth consecutive defeat at Xcel Energy Center. A playoff berth is not guaranteed, so the Wild must turn it around quickly with only three games remaining on their schedule. The team looks to erase the memory of its most recent game, a 4-1 loss against the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The Wild surrendered three power-play opportunities to the Flames and got burned all three times.

"We certainly don't like to do things the easy way, that's for sure," coach Mike Yeo said.

Who's hot: Kings captain Anze Kopitar has a goal and eight assists in his last six games against the Wild. … Minnesota forward Zach Parise has four points (2g, 2a) over his last five games.

Injury report: Defenseman Willie Mitchell (knee) is out for the season for the Kings. … Goaltender Josh Harding was activated off injured reserve by the Wild on Monday. He last played on Feb. 7. Centers Mike Rupp (lower body) and Zenon Konopka (foot) are questionable. Forward Dany Heatley (shoulder) is out for the season. while goalie Josh Harding (illness) remains out of the lineup.

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