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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 28 (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (37-23-14) at Minnesota Wild (43-25-7), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings look to keep their perfect record on this key road trip intact on Saturday night when they visit the rolling Minnesota Wild.
The Kings have opened this five-game trek with victories over the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders, topping the latter club 3-2 on Thursday.
Anze Kopitar notched the deciding tally with 4:23 left to play as Los Angeles moved a point ahead of the Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division.
"We have eight games left and we have to win a few more of them to get the (playoff) spot. It was a great team win," said Kopitar, who has four goals and 11 assists over his club's past 12 games.
Nick Shore notched his first career goal, Tyler Toffoli had a short-handed marker and Jonathan Quick finished with 25 saves as the Kings moved to 8-2-2 in their past 12 games.
The Kings will end their road trip on Monday in Chicago and have a game in hand over the idle Flames, who lost to the Wild 4-2 on Friday night.
Minnesota aided both its own and Los Angeles' playoff chances with the win over Calgary, with Thomas Vanek, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise all netting third-period goals.
Matt Dumba also lit the lamp and Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves in his 33rd consecutive start for the Wild, who have won four straight games and six of their last seven.
"These points are huge right now," Dumba said. "When it comes game time, everyone is focused and ready to go to war."
Minnesota, which plays the second of five-game homestand tonight, is building a comfortable lead for a wild card spot in the Western Conference and is now within a point of the Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division. Chicago, though, has played one fewer game and is not in action on Saturday.
Vanek's goal on Friday night saw him reach the 20-goal mark for the 10th time in as many NHL seasons and he has potted six goals in his last 10 games. Parise, meanwhile, recorded his 30th tally of the season to reach that plateau for the sixth time in his career.
The Kings have won the first two of three meetings with the Wild this season, including a 4-0 triumph in Minnesota on Nov. 26. Backup goaltender Martin Jones recorded a 28-save shutout.
Quick is 9-4-3 with a 2.39 goals against average and .904 save percentage versus Minnesota, while Dubnyk has gone 4-4-1 with a 2.38 GAA and .927 save percentage in his career versus L.A.
03/28 10:36:48 ET