ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild will try for two wins in a row for the first time under head coach Bruce Boudreau when it hosts the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
It won't be easy.
The Kings come to the Twin Cities with losses in each of their first two games and are one of just three teams in the NHL without a point in the standings. Both San Jose and Vancouver have started the season with two wins, and another loss could put Los Angeles in a significant early-season hole.
Boudreau, who spent the last four-plus seasons as coach of the Kings' cross-town rival Anaheim Ducks, said he knows exactly what is in store for the Wild on Tuesday.
"I know exactly what they're thinking," Boudreau said. "I've seen that team more than I've seen any other team in the league. I think I know what to expect and how they're going to come out. It's going to be a great test for our team."
The Wild went through another hard practice on Monday, continuing preparations for an early stretch of games against some of the more physical teams the Western Conference has to offer.
After a season-opening loss to St. Louis last Thursday, the Wild went through a tough practice on Friday to prep for the Winnipeg Jets. The work paid off, as Minnesota outhit the Jets 20-15 and won the game 4-3.
The Kings might be even more physical than the Jets, so another practice to get the Wild in the right frame of mind was needed.
"After a day off and we're playing probably the most physical team in the league tomorrow ... We better get ready for them," Boudreau said.
Los Angeles will be without a couple of its bigger stars on Tuesday. Goaltender Jonathan Quick sustained a groin injury in a season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks last Wednesday, an injury that will keep the All-Star goalkeeper out for at least a couple of months.
Kings forward Marian Gaborik will also miss the game as he continues to recover from a broken foot sustained at the World Cup of Hockey last month.