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Stoll Returns To LA, Where Wild Looks To End Slide

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

LOS ANGELES – There was no temptation for forward Jarret Stoll to keep going down the hallway, past the Minnesota Wild's locker room, and into more familiar territory on Thursday morning, but he did crack a smile when talking about his former team.

"It was an easy walk over, and I knew exactly where I was going," Stoll said. "It was different being in here, but it's going to be a fun night."

Stoll and the Wild will play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday, a building he called home for seven seasons as a King, and a building he and the Kings clinched two Stanley Cups in.

But chief among Stoll and the rest of the Wild's concerns is figuring out how to end a five-game losing streak.

"I'll say hi to some of those guys after, but we have to get back on track; that's the most important thing," Stoll said. "We need points."

In those five games, the Wild has scored four goals on 127 shots. Minnesota has outshot its opponent in four out of five of those games, and has generated scoring chances.

Though the Wild still thinks it can create more offensively, it also thinks it can do a better job of finishing the looks it is getting

"A little combination of both," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "Early in the game, for the most part the last few games we've had some of our best opportunities. As the game wears on, and the more that we haven't scored, the more that those little things start to slip, and the less that we get."

Though the offensive drought is new, the Wild has dealt with this kind of adversity during the month of January in seasons past.

"I said this before: We've been one of only a small group of teams that have made the playoffs the last three years," Yeo said. "Every year we had to get through something like this, and it's obvious we have to do it again."

Stoll too is familiar with this kind of slide. In 2012, the year the Kings won their first Stanley Cup, they snuck in as the number eight seed after a regular season that included two separate five-game losing streaks.

"You just have to look at what you're doing," Stoll said. "We're doing a lot of things right, we're playing some good hockey at times, it's just little situations here or there, little mistakes here or there that are ending up in the back of our net. Obviously we need to score more goals."

Having traversed those slides and then parlayed that season into a Stanley Cup, Stoll also knows what it takes to come out of them successfully.

"It could take only one game, it could take a good third period to come out, and pulling out a win," he said. "Hopefully that's tonight for us. Have a great game against a very good team, and start something here."

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for Minnesota on Thursday. He started against the Kings at Staples Center October, making 35 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss. 

The only other potential lineup change for the Wild could come up front. Forward Jordan Schroeder was recalled from Iowa on Thursday, and Yeo said there's a very good chance he would play.

He would likely draw into the bottom-six.

"I'm not going to take one of our key guys, or one of our leaders, or one of the guys we count on to score out," Yeo said.

Here is the Wild's projected lineup:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuThomas Vanek

Zach PariseMikael GranlundJason Pominville

Nino NiederreiterCharlie CoyleJustin Fontaine / Jordan Schroeder

Chris PorterJarret StollErik Haula

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Marco ScandellaNate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

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