Minnesota Wild Gameday Preview: Los Angeles Kings
The Minnesota Wild (5-5-1) are kicking off a three-game road trip to the west coast tonight against the Los Angeles Kings (7-6-1). The Wild are coming off an extended break that allowed them four days to rest and regroup after a disappointing shutout loss to the Seattle Kraken on Nov.3. They have already met the Kings this season in a loss that consisted of 13 total goals, one of the first signs the Wild were struggling. So far this season, they have played better on the road and will attempt to even the season series at Crypto.com Arena.
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The Kings have also had a few days of rest since putting down the Florida Panthers on Nov.5. Similar to the Wild, they have received some questionable goaltending from the tandem of Jonathan Quick and Cal Peterson, both of whom have had recent stretches of very strong performances. If they can stabilize things on the back end, the Kings could be in for a very good 2022-23 season.
Wild Projected Lineup
A brace of injuries and poor performances have resulted in rotating lines that can be altered at any point. The Wild will get a much-needed veteran presence tonight with the return of Jordan Greenway and Iowa Wild call-up Joseph Cramarossa sliding into action.
Kirill Kaprizov – Freddy Gaudreau – Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway – Joel Eriksson Ek – Matt Boldy
Connor Dewar – Marco Rossi – Mason Shaw
Tyson Jost – Sam Steel – Joseph Cramarossa
Jacob Middleton – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill – Calen Addison
Marc-Andre Fleury – Filip Gustavsson
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The Wild’s lines are expected to continue changing on a per-game basis as players return from injuries and players called up from the American Hockey League (AHL) rotate in and out of the bottom line. With Shaw working his way throughout the lineup and looking like he belongs in the NHL, Steven Fogarty was the odd man out and will be replaced by the 30-year-old Cramarossa, who will make his season debut on the fourth line, bringing with him a total of 64 games of NHL experience.
Kings Projected Lineup
It has already been eight years since the Kings won their last Stanley Cup, but their lines have a strong mix of proven veterans and young stars, one of which should be familiar to Wild fans.
Adrian Kempe – Anze Kopitar – Gabriel Vilardi
Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Rasmus Kupari – Carl Grundstrom
Brendan Lemieux – Blake Lizotte – Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi – Matt Roy
Alexander Edler – Sean Walker
Cal Peterson – Jonathan Quick
With two point-per-game players, four players with double-digit points, and everyone playing tonight (except the goalie) having at least one point, it is easy to see that the Kings’ offense has been putting in the work. All four lines have put points on the board, making it difficult for other teams to shut them down. The Wild’s defense has looked out of sorts recently and will have their hands full tonight.
Key Players to Watch
Minnesota Wild – Jordan Greenway
With the trio of Greenway, Eriksson Ek, and Marcus Foligno being as dominant as they were in the 2021-22 season, it was expected that they would be a mainstay in the Wild lineup again this year; however, they have yet to play a single game together due to injuries. Greenway was on injured reserve to start the season and made his season debut against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct.20. He sustained another injury after less than three minutes of ice time in that game.
Tonight, he slots into the lineup on the second line with Eriksson Ek and Boldy, who have been developing some good chemistry together. Greenway’s return to the roster brings a punch of size, as the 230-pound winger also packs a good amount of scoring ability when healthy. The Wild will be hoping for a strong return from him, as he will have to carry most of the physical play with Foligno, Ryan Hartman, and Brandon Duhaime all injured.
Los Angeles Kings – Kevin Fiala
The Wild have already faced their former teammate once this year, and Fiala did not hold back. He had a goal and two assists in the 7-6 contest on Oct. 15. With nearly a month more practice getting used to his new role with the Kings, he has the potential to be even more lethal tonight.
The electric scorer got off to a slow start in the 2021-22 season for the Wild and still ended up being over a point-per-game player without missing any games. His chemistry with Boldy was an important factor in the Wild’s success, but he was ultimately traded due to upcoming cap constraints. Fiala is a game-changing player who can score a goal in an instant but, if frustrated, can end up taking some ill-timed penalties. The Wild will hope to get the latter in tonight’s match if they plan on having a lower-scoring affair than the last time these two teams met.
Tonight’s match-up is a late one but can be found on Bally Sports North and KFAN 100.3 FM starting at 9:30 PM CT.
*Player statistics collected from Naturalstattrick.com, Los Angeles Kings lines from their latest game, and Minnesota Wild lines from @Russohockey on Twitter.
Being from the east coast of Canada, I’ve grown up immersed in hockey since before I was old enough to walk. The Minnesota Wild joined the league right as I was trying to find a favourite team and I have been committed to them ever since. I like to take breaks from my day job of writing reports as a Scientist by writing articles about my hockey passion. Follow me on twitter @tysmck15 for my latest.