Mon, 12 Apr 2021

Streaking Wild aim to complete sweep of Kings

Field Level Media
27 Feb 2021, 18:40 GMT+10

The Minnesota Wild will try to run their winning streak to six games when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night in Minneapolis.

The Wild beat the Kings 3-1 on Friday night behind 27 saves from Cam Talbot and first-period goals from Kirill Kaprizov, Nick Bjugstad and Joel Eriksson Ek.Minnesota has scored 23 goals during its five-game winning streak.

"It's a lot more fun when you're creating offense and everyone is feeling it," said Bjugstad, who scored the 100th goal of his NHL career in the Friday victory. "This is a good Los Angeles team, so it's hard to put up goals against them."

The Kings will try to rebound after their six-game win streak was snapped Friday.

Los Angeles had opened its six-game road trip with two-game sweeps against the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues.

"Our details in St. Louis weren't real good, and it carried over in (Friday's) game," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "When do we get them back, how quick do we get them back? To the point where they become real important again, that's what we'll be looking for (Saturday)."

Calvin Petersen will start in goal for Los Angeles on Saturday after Jonathan Quick stopped 27 of 30 shots on Friday night.

Petersen has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his past three starts to lower his goals-against average to 2.28 on the season. He stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 2-1 win against the Wild on Jan. 26.

Petersen most recently made 35 saves in a 2-1 win against the Blues on Wednesday.

Minnesota is expected to start Kaapo Kahkonen in goal.

Kahkonen has surrendered two goals or fewer in each of his past four outings. He has made three starts against the Kings this season, going 1-2-0 with a 2.74 GAA.

He will hope for more offensive support from Kaprizov, who continues to be a menace to the Kings.

Kaprizov scored his first NHL goal in overtime to beat Los Angeles in the season opener on Jan. 14, after he notched two assists in regulation. He scored the first goal Friday on a dazzling wraparound, giving him three goals and three assists in six games against Los Angeles this season.

"Honestly, the first practice I saw him skate I knew he was something special," Bjugstad said of Kaprizov.

McLellan has been equally impressed with the 23-year rookie from Russia.

"If he isn't the top rookie in the league, he's got to be one of the top two or three," McLellan said. "This is what, Game 6 or 7 against them already, and every night he's gotten better.

"He's a factor. His line is very good right now. ... I see him along the boards and in piles, he's not the biggest man, but he always seems to roll off and come out. He's a very slippery player."

Bjugstad said another big key to the Wild's recent success has been the arrival of Mats Zuccarello, who missed the first 11 games after undergoing offseason arm surgery.

Zuccarello has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) during the five-game winning streak.

"He brought his swagger, and we've all kind of followed," Bjugstad said of Zuccarello.

--Field Level Media

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