LOS ANGELES – The Wild added insurance, recalling forward Matt Read from the American Hockey League, but it sounds like the team won’t need to call on Read Thursday against the Kings.
Center Eric Staal, who missed the game Tuesday against the Sharks with illness, is a game-time decision, but Staal said he’s feeling better.
“It was good waking up today feeling more like myself and get a little sweat this morning and hopefully good game tonight,” said Staal after skating at Staples Center Thursday morning.
Staal’s been dealing with a stomach bug that knocked him out of commission just before Tuesday’s game. His condition deteriorated after a pregame meal and although he reported to the rink that night, it wasn’t long before he had to leave.
The 34-year-old spent Wednesday resting and rehydrating before catching an evening flight from San Jose to Los Angeles, where the Wild continues its three-game trek through California.
“That’s the key, short shifts early and see where the energy level is at and do my best to be a contributor,” Staal said. “I’m playing because I think I can help, and that’s my goal. Good test for us obviously coming off a loss in San Jose and a team that’s had some changeover, new coach. So good test for us. You gotta be excited about the opportunity.”
Center Matt Hendricks, who replaced Staal in the lineup Tuesday, is dealing with bumps and bruises and won’t play.
“He was hurting last game, and he gutted it out and played a great game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We will let him stay off the ice and get treatment.”
This is the Kings’ second game with a new face behind the bench; after firing John Stevens Sunday, the team tabbed former Canucks coach Willie Desjardins to take over on an interim basis.
“You can see they're working a lot harder, and they've got smiles on their faces,” Boudreau said. “They have a lot of talented players over there, so the 4-1 win [over the Ducks Tuesday] was not surprising. And every time we played against Vancouver when Willie was behind the bench, it was a hard team to play against. I expect it to be a difficult game tonight.”
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Jason Zucker-Joel Eriksson Ek-Nino Niederreiter
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
698: Career points for winger Zach Parise.
6-1-4: The Wild’s record vs. the Kings over the two teams’ last 11 matchups.
.924: Goalie Devan Dubnyk’s save percentage against Los Angeles.
1: Power-play goal by the Wild in four of its past five games.
10: Games out of the last 12 in which the opposition has scored first vs. the Wild.
About the Kings:
A poor start to the season precipitated Stevens’ dismissal and Desjardins’ arrival. Before the win against Anaheim Tuesday, the Kings were 4-8-1 – this after the team advanced to the playoffs last season. Winger Ilya Kovalchuk leads the group offensively, with five goals and 14 points. Goalie Jonathan Quick is out, as he recovers from knee surgery. Jack Campbell is 5-5 with a .918 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average.