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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 31st (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (38-26-11) at Los Angeles Kings (44-25-6), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild look to move closer to clinching a playoff spot on Monday night when they visit the streaking Los Angeles Kings.
The Wild own the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference with 87 points. Their 3-1 victory over Phoenix gave them a three-point edge over the Coyotes, who hold the second wild card position, and put the Wild four points ahead of the ninth-place Dallas Stars in the conference standings.
Minnesota's win over Phoenix was just its third in its last nine games (3-4-2) and saw the club score all three of its goals in the third period. Zach Parise scored twice and Jared Spurgeon also lit the lamp in the game's final 11:57.
"I think we can learn a lot from it, just the way we didn't get frustrated," Parise said. "We kept playing the same way and I think we got better as the game went on."
Ilya Bryzgalov came up with 23 saves in the win, while Mikko Koivu notched a pair of assists to give him seven points over a five-game point streak and 10 points over his past seven contests.
Minnesota has split the first two of a four-game road trip that ends on Thursday versus the Chicago Blackhawks and will try to snap Los Angeles' six- game winning streak tonight.
The Kings have gone 14-3-0 since Feb. 6 and appear locked into third place in the Pacific Division. They are 10 points up on the Coyotes and nine back of the second-place San Jose Sharks.
Los Angeles jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period of Saturday's 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Trevor Lewis scored 2:42 into the game and Anze Kopitar scored twice in the period, while Tyler Toffoli notched a third- period tally.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, including one late with his skate while prone on his stomach and Winnipeg buzzing in the Los Angeles zone.
"I lost my footing a little bit, and then the puck went to the side," Quick said. "I can't remember who took a shot from the corner. I was just trying to get coverage. Luckily it hit my skate. I don't know if it was going in, it might have been going wide."
Willie Mitchell and Marian Gaborik had two assists each to help the Kings win the opener of a three-game homestand.
The Kings and Wild have split two meetings this season, with each club winning a shootout on the road.
03/31 10:31:17 ET