G’day, State of Hockey Legion!
Tonight, the Wild looks to snap a two-game skid against the Los Angeles Jokers, also known as the Kings. The Wild closed out March with a 4-3 shootout win against the Kings at Xcel Energy Center. So, what a better time to capture its first win in April, against the Kings?
The Wild will have a new face in the lineup as newly acquired winger Jason Pominville makes his debut for Minnesota. The 30-year-old has some pretty good running mates to welcome him in Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. That should give him a little more adrenaline and help shake off the jet lag of a cross-country flight. Pominville will wear no. 29 with the Wild if you're scoring at home.
Minnesota will also welcome center Mikael Granlund back to the lineup. The 21-year-old was recalled yesterday and arrived in LA today. He’ll start the game between Charlie Coyle and Cal Clutterbuck.
Kyle Brodziak will move between Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi. Zenon Konopka will center Mike Rupp and Torrey Mitchell.
Dany Heatley suffered an upper body injury yesterday against the Sharks, after a slash and scrum with Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was fined for the play. The Wild will also be without Matt Cullen, who is out with a lower body injury. Josh Harding is on Injured Reserve as he continues to treat multiple sclerosis.
Justin Falk is tonight’s lone healthy scratch, so that means that Brett Clark is back on the blue line.
The Wild sports its road whites, while the Kings wear its home blacks with LA logo.
Follow along with the action on Twitter at @mnwildLIVE.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
Period 1 - MIN 0, LAK 2
The Kings came out of the gate on fire jumping out to a quick lead. After falling behind, the Wild settled in and started getting chances offensively.
LA took the lead 1:29 into the first. After a wide shot from the Wild, Justin Williams took the puck the length of the ice on a 2-on-1 with Dustin Brown. Williams used Brown as a decoy and fired a shot past the blocker of Niklas Backstrom.
The Kings extended its lead less than a minute and a half later on a nice passing play on the rush. Mike Richards found a streaking Jeff Carter, who slipped the puck through Backstrom's legs. Drew Doughty was given the second assist.
After the first five minutes, the Wild settled down and started to pick things up. I think the boys are going to take that into the dressing room, regroup and turn things around in the second.
Period 2 - MIN 0, LAK 3
The Kings extended its lead in the first half of the second period and the scoring chances started to slow down after that.
When you're hot, you're hot. Williams scored his second of the game on an absolute blast. He received a rink-wide pass from Kopitar and went bar and in on a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Robyn Regehr also assisted on the play.
The Wild has 20 minutes to pull a big road comeback. Keep the faith.
Period 3 - MIN 0, LAK 3
The Wild was unable to mount a comeback and there was no scoring to report in the final period. The club has a much needed two days off before finishing up its road trip against Columbus on Sunday.