The Los Angeles Kings play in their straight road game as part of a four-game road trip. Minnesota is the first destination in a back-to-back situation for the Kings on the road. Following tonight, the Kings will fly to Chicago for a battle with the Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday. The Kings will be back at the Staples Center on Wednesday night to play host to the Vancouver Canucks. They’re coming off a lackluster performance in St. Louis against the Blues, as they fell by a score of 5-2 against the defending Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday.
It’s been a sluggish start for the Kings in 2019-20. They were non-factors a season ago and figure to play a similar role this season. The Kings finished back of the pack with a record of 31-42-9 last season. Their 71 points put them dead last in the Western Conference and a spot behind the Senators for last in the NHL. This season has been more of the same for the Kings. They enter Minnesota with a mark of 4-6-0 and 8 points for last in the Pacific. The core in LA is getting older and in a young league, the results aren’t expected to improve by much this year for the Kings.
Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Dustin Brown are all north of 30 years old. While they still belong in the NHL, the Kings need some of the younger blood to step up. Along with Drew Doughty who is 29, the top four point getters on the Kings are aging vets. Before some of the younger talent develops, the Kings are likely going to continue to sputter in the standings. The Wild have had their issues to open the season as well.
Minnesota head into Saturday with a record of 3-7-0. They trial the Kings by 2 points in the Western Conference, so the Wild have been slow starters in October. Although, the Wild were able to register a couple of recent wins at home against the Canadiens and Oilers. They’ve also outshot the opposition in each of their last three outings, so at least there’s been signs of life in Minnesota. Get our free Kings vs. Wild pick below.
LA Kings vs. Minnesota Wild Pick
The Wild were fortunate to avoid a long-term injury to starting netminder Devan Dubnyk after a collision against the Oilers. He left the game and never returned, but has recently returned to practice. Dubnyk will not be available tonight for the Wild, though. Other than that effort against the Oilers, Dubnyk has been pretty horrific so it may not be that bad to not have him around tonight. Dubnyk holds a 3.82 GAA and 0.88 save percentage. Perhaps the extra time off gave him a minute to collect himself after this slow start.
Alex Stalock, who happens to be a native of Minnesota, has been the better of the two. The Wild won’t give up on Dubnyk given this small sample size of games, though Stalock has had the hot hand in the crease. Stalock goes into Saturday with a 2.22 GAA in five appearances for the Wild. He’s made three starts and two appearances in relief of Dubnyk. The Wild have had their offence working for them at home despite their porous record.
Minnesota have had some hot sticks at home in Minnesota, as they’ve scored an average of 3.67 goals per game. Finding goals has been a major struggle for them on the road, but it’s been a different story at Xcel Energy Center. On the other side for the Kings, they have been getting torched defensively on the road. They’ve allowed 4.8 goals per game, which has largely been a reflection of bad goaltending.
Jonathan Quick is probable to get the nod against the Wild in the first game of a back-to-back scenario. This season has been a work-in-progress for Quick, as he’s struggled to find a groove between the pipes. Quick has been way out in left field, with a 4.39 GAA and 0.854 save percentage in six games.
His performances have been putrid on the road, where he’s posted a 5.10 GAA and 0.831 save percentage in four outings. This looks like a nice spot for the Wild to build some confidence with the Kings in town. A loss here and there is going to be plenty more finger pointing at Bruce Boudreau. I see Boudreau getting his team ready for this one against the Kings, though. The home team look like the play here.