Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 4 vs. Minnesota, October 16, 2015, 7:30pm PST
The Los Angeles Kings hope to turn their early, uninspired ways around on Friday night when they play host to the undefeated Minnesota Wild for the first of three meetings this season.
The Wild (4-0-0) are coming off short rest, having won in Arizona on Thursday. However, if last game was any indication, the Kings do not have much luck with teams having played the previous night. On Tuesday, the silver-and-black were shut out by the Vancouver Canucks, who had won on Monday night in Anaheim. The Kings will be hoping for a change entering the weekend.
Last season, the Kings took two of three meetings with the Wild but lost the latter meeting — a 4-1 loss on March 28 — when Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter each scored twice and goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 shots. Dubnyk, in fact, was not even with the Wild when they lost their previous two to Los Angeles earlier in the season. Despite playing in Glendale on Thursday, do not be surprised if Dubnyk gets the start at STAPLES Center on Friday.
But whether it’s Dubynk, Niklas Backstrom or Darcy Kuemper in goal, the Kings need to focus on getting the puck in the net regardless who’s in there. That’s because through their first three games, the silver-and-black have scored just two goals — the first of which came under two minutes into the season-opener. Whether the Kings win or lose on Friday, fans are sincerely hoping for a hard-fought effort — something they have not witnessed from their team thus far. The Kings will also need to step up their game in a big way on the power play. In 13 chances thus far, Los Angeles has yet to score once on the man-advantage.
After allowing nine goals over the course of his first two games, Jonathan Quick was much better in the Los Angeles net on Tuesday as he made 23 saves despite the defeat. His defense also played a better game as Vancouver’s first two goals came from a funny bounce and a perfect point shot, respectively — neither could be blamed on Quick or the defense. The third was an empty-netter.
Plenty of work needs to be done for the Kings to turn their luck around but they have been here before, and have done so admirably. Like every team, new faces get added to the fold at the start of every season. The silver-and-black are still experiencing new lines and new chemistry with their players, which is only natural. But in a very competitive Western Conference, it is imperative that the Kings find their way soon before changes are ultimately made.
A win on Friday and faith will be restored. The Kings, however, will need to work for it.
Enjoy the game!