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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Los Angeles

Wild returns from five-day break, concludes eight-game homestand Monday against Kings

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: Los Angeles Kings (30-27-4, 64 points, fifth place, Pacific Division) at Minnesota Wild (39-14-6, 84 points, first place, Central Division)

Puck drop: 7:10 p.m. CT

Watch: NBCSN; Wild Watch Bar locationsNHL.TV

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter 


At the rink

Martin Hanzal and Ryan White are expected to make their Minnesota Wild debuts on Monday when the club returns from its five-day bye with a game against the Los Angeles Kings at Xcel Energy Center.

The game is the final one of a franchise-long eight-game homestand on which the Wild is currently 4-2-1.

Hanzal and White were acquired on Sunday evening in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes where Minnesota sent three draft picks and prospect Grayson Downing to the desert. The Wild also got back a fourth-round pick in the deal.

"I think when you go make a trade like that for one of the, if not the, guy most teams are after at the trade deadline, that's [Wild General Manager] Chuck [Fletcher] telling us that he believes we can win in here," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who played half of one season with Hanzal in Arizona. "I think we all believe that anyway, but when he's willing to go out there and trade some draft picks for an opportunity to win this year, that should let us know something for sure."

In Hanzal, the Wild is getting a centerman who can do a little bit of everything. He led the Coyotes in goals with 16, four of which came on the power play. He's also won 56 percent of his draws this season, among the better numbers League-wide. 

At 6-foot-6, Hanzal also has the ability to stand in front of the net on the power play and cause problems for goaltenders.

"He's one of the only guys in the League who can stand in front of me in front of the net on a power play and I can't see over the top of him," said Dubnyk, who's also 6-foot-6. "That's one thing I always prepare for playing against him, is he's an absolute wall in front of the net on the power play."

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said he's energized by the additions, two players he knows well from previous stops. Boudreau coached extensively against Hanzal when he led Pacific Division rival Anaheim and versus White when Boudreau was in Washington and White skated for Montreal. 

"[Hanzal is] a big horse of a guy. When we were in the Pacific, [he] played against [Ducks forward Ryan] Getzlaf and did a really good job," Boudreau said. "He can be physical, he's mean, he's got a deft little touch, he's really good on faceoffs, he was Arizona's shutdown guy. I think he does a lot of things great, being the size that he is he's not the fleetest of foot, but at the same time he gets around the ice pretty well."

"[Hanzal is] a tough guy to play against. You line up against a guy that's 6-foot-6 and big and strong, and that can get difficult as the night goes on and through the course of a playoff series," said Wild forward Eric Staal. "It's nice to be able to add that to what we've already got going here down the middle. We have some big, strong guys that can lean on people and make it tough to play against. We are excited to have him and [White] join us."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart - Martin Hanzal - Ryan White

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

KINGS

Adrian Kempe - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown 

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli 

Marian Gaborik - Nic Dowd - Kyle Clifford 

Dwight King - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis 

Derek Forbort - Drew Doughty 

Jake Muzzin - Kevin Gravel 

Brayden McNabb - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop


The opponent

Goaltender Jonathan Quick returned from injury on Saturday for the Los Angeles Kings in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center. Quick, who sustained a groin injury in the season opener more than four months ago, made 32 saves in his first game back. His return to the crease comes at a big time for the Kings, who are currently outside the Western Conference playoff picture. Jeff Carter scored his 30th goal in the win on Saturday. Los Angeles traded for goaltender Ben Bishop on Sunday, sending Peter Budaj, a pick and a prospect to Tampa Bay to provide the club with insurance in the event Quick is unable to handle a full load down the stretch.


Connections

• Kings forward Marian Gaborik is the Wild's all-time franchise leader in goals (219), power-play goals (59) and game-winning goals (43) and ranks second in points (437) and shots (1,694) in 502 games from 2000-09. 

• Kings defenseman Derek Forbort is from Duluth and played three seasons at the University of North Dakota.

• Kings forward Nic Dowd played four seasons at St. Cloud State University, scoring 22 goals and tallying 40 points during his senior season when he served as team captain.

• Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel played four seasons at St. Cloud State University.


Back-to-back begins

Minnesota begins its 10th of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, before visiting Winnipeg Tuesday. The Wild is 6-1-2 on the first night of play this season and 4-3-2 on the second night of action. Minnesota played 15 sets of back-to-back games last season, posting a 7-6-2 record on night one and going 5-7-3 on the second night of play.

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