The Wild Beat
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A Tuesday night date with the Kings in Los Angeles isn’t just the start of 10 games in 19 days – a busy stretch leading up to the Christmas break.

It’s also the beginning of a challenging three-game road trip through California.

“Three great teams,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “So you’re going into a hornet’s nest every night.”

After playing the Kings, the Wild isn’t back in action until Friday when it visits the Ducks before wrapping up its California road swing Sunday in San Jose against the Sharks – a trip that can be tough to salvage if it starts poorly.

Just ask former Ducks bench boss Boudreau.

“It’s a different time change, and there’s a lot of things going on,” Boudreau said. “So it makes for a tough trip. We used to in Anaheim salivate when we looked at another team’s schedule and seeing where they were coming from, how many games they play, when they were coming into our building. And I knew L.A. used to do the same thing. A lot of times, once you got going on the down slide there, it’s not hard to lose three.”

Projected lineup:

Mikael Granlund -Mikko Koivu-Jason Zucker

Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Marcus Foligno

Daniel Winnik-Charlie Coyle-Chris Stewart

Tyler Ennis-Matt Cullen-Zack Mitchell

Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy

Mike Reilly-Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Key numbers:

5-0-2: The Wild’s record in its last seven games against the Kings.

58: Points by Wild defensemen, which ranks tied for seventh in the NHL.

27: The Wild’s efficiency on the power play on the road.

6: Game point streak for winger Jason Zucker.

3: Points in the last two games for defenseman Matt Dumba.

About the Kings:

Los Angeles has surged to the top of the Pacific Division amid a five-game win streak. During the run, the Kings have secured wins against the Ducks, Red Wings, Capitals, Blues and Blackhawks. Overall, at 17-8-3, the start of the John Stevens era behind the bench is off to a solid start. Captain Anze Kopitar has a team-high 14 goals and 31 points; Kopitar had only 12 goals all of 2016-17. Winger Dustin Brown has also rebounded from a down season, with 11 goals and 23 points through 28 games.