LOS ANGELES – The Wild was bumped from a playoff spot Friday when it was idle, but it can reclaim a berth Saturday afternoon when it takes on the Kings at Staples Center.
While the team had a day off Friday, Vancouver and Winnipeg both won – jumping over the Wild and its 75 points to move into both wild card seeds with 76 points. The Canucks are in the first wild card and the Jets the second.
A win over Los Angeles would elevate the Wild to the first position and keep it there, since no one else who’s playing Saturday can catch the team. If the Wild gains only one point, it’ll clear only Winnipeg to become the second wild card team.
Since the team didn’t practice Friday, it’s unclear if the Wild will make any lineup changes to face the Kings. But since the team has been rolling of late, starting this road trip with a 3-2 win over the Sharks Thursday in San Jose, the Wild could easily keep the lines and defensive pairings the same. It could also tab goalie Alex Stalock for a seventh straight start.
Stalock made a career-high seven consecutive starts Dec.14-27, 2017.
After backstopping the Wild to that win in San Jose, Stalock became the fifth netminder in team history to record 20 victories in a season. Stalock is 9-2-1 in his last 12 games with a 1.91 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He’s 2-2-1 in his career vs. the Kings.
Zach Parise-Luke Kunin-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Gerald Mayhew
Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Brad Hunt-Greg Pateryn
6: Straight wins on the road for the Wild.
13-6-2: Record for the Wild against the Pacific Division this season.
36: Goals for the Wild in its last eight games compared to 22 for the opposition.
5-1-1: Showing for the Wild in the first game of a back-to-back
4: Goals for winger Zach Parise over his last four games.
About the Kings:
Los Angeles has won a season-high four straight games, a win streak that’s come against some impressive teams. The Kings have recently edged Toronto, Vegas, New Jersey and Pittsburgh. Most recently, they outlasted the Maple Leafs in a shootout on Thursday for a 1-0 victory. Los Angeles is 7-2-1 in its last game, including 5-1-1 at home. The Kings are only missing center Jeff Carter to injury, a lower-body issue.