Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 76 vs. Minnesota
March 31, 2014
7pm PST (10pm EST)
While they did tie a franchise record with eight-straight wins on the road, the Los Angeles Kings knew they needed to improve on their recent performance home ice. Having won their last two before hitting the road helped, as did their Saturday night victory against Winnipeg thanks to a three-goal first period. But the Kings will try to continue their winning ways on Monday as they host the Minnesota Wild.
This will be the third and final meeting between the Kings and Wild with each team winning in the shootout. The Kings won in the season-opener on October 3 in St. Paul while the Wild were victorious on January 7 at Staples Center.
Sitting 12 points behind Chicago, the chances of cracking the top-three in the Central Division are slim at best for the Minnesota Wild. But with 87 points, the 38-26-11 Wild do hold the first wild card spot in the West and on Monday, they hope to further solidify their seeding for the post-season. The Kings, however, may have different ideas.
Going for their seventh-straight victory, the Kings are on fire at just the right time. On Saturday, Anze Kopitar continued his rolling ways by scoring twice en route to his team’s win. But his new linemate is just as hot. After recording a pair of assists on Saturday, Marian Gaborik is on a three-game point streak and has registered points in eight of the 12 games he has played since coming over from Columbus. Gaborik will be facing his original team as a King where he was their first-ever draft choice.
While they will most likely third in the Pacific, there is still some motivation for Los Angeles entering Monday night. With 44 wins on the year, they need just two to match a franchise mark set in 1990-91, 2009-10 and again in 2010-11. Overall, the silver-and-black are also on the precipice of a milestone. They are one win away from earning their 1500th win as a franchise.
Unlike their 23-9-5 record on home ice, the Wild are just 15-17-6 away from the Xcel Energy Center this season. Of course, as previously mentioned, one of those wins did come in Los Angeles. Also, the Wild have a hot hand in captain Mikko Koivu who enters Monday night’s contest riding a five-game point streak and nine points in his last seven games.
Both teams will be looking to further strengthen their respective statuses entering the post-season. It should be a great duel.
Enjoy the game!