(SportsNetwork.com) – The Los Angeles Kings will try to stay perfect on a six-
game homestand when they welcome the Minnesota Wild for Sunday’s matinee at
Despite dropping their first two games of 2014-15, the defending Stanley Cup
champions are 3-1-1 on the season thanks to a 3-0 record on their current stay
in Los Angeles. The Kings had a 23-14-4 record at home last season and went
8-4 in L.A. during the playoffs en route to earning the franchise’s second Cup
in three years.
The Kings have outscored the opposition by an 11-2 margin during the
homestand, but only needed one shootout goal to defeat the St. Louis Blues on
Thursday. Jonathan Quick made 43 saves during regulation and overtime and
three more in the shootout to anchor the 1-0 victory, while Jeff Carter
provided the only goal of the decisive phase.
Carter was the Kings’ first skater in the shootout, beating Brian Elliott with
a wrist shot over the netminder’s pad and under his blocker. Quick stopped
T.J. Oshie, Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko to seal the Kings’ fifth
straight home win against the Blues.
Quick notched his 32nd career shutout, tying Rogie Vachon for first all-time
in Kings history.
“It’s more about wins than shutouts when we go out there,” Quick said.
On the injury front, Los Angeles forward Marian Gaborik and defenseman Jake
Muzzin are currently sidelined with upper-body ailments. Gaborik has missed
the last two games while Muzzin, who signed a five-year extension earlier this
week, has yet to play this season. Both players are out for Sunday’s tilt, as
is defenseman Trevor Lewis, who is on injured reserve with an upper-body
The Kings welcome a Minnesota team which has won two straight, three of four
and five of the last seven meetings in this series. Minnesota also has won in
its last two trips to L.A. and has claimed three of four in the City of
The Wild are aiming to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
Minnesota opened 2014-15 with a 2-0 mark thanks to a pair of shutout wins
against Colorado, but then dropped a 2-1 decision Friday in Anaheim.
Minnesota led the Ducks 1-0 after 40 minutes, but Andrew Cogliano scored a
short-handed goal to even things early in the third period and Corey Perry
tallied the game-winner with 8:25 to play.
Jason Zucker netted Minnesota’s lone marker and Darcy Kuemper, who posted both
of the shutouts against the Avalanche to start the season, had his shutout
streak end at 163 minutes, 46 seconds.
“It’s hard to be too upset right now. Obviously, you want to win the game. Our
guys put a lot into that game,” Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. “There were
empty nets and opportunities that were bouncing off of our sticks. We weren’t
quite sharp in those situations and that’s when you need to make a play.”
Kuemper allowed two goals on 26 shots in the loss and he expects to get a
breather today in favor of Niklas Backstrom, who will be making his first
start of the season.
Backstrom, who underwent season-ending surgery in February, last saw NHL
action on Jan. 30 and hasn’t started a game since Jan. 11. The 36-year-old
Finnish netminder is 8-6-4 with a 2.41 goals against average in his career
Quick is 8-4-3 with a 2.47 GAA and .895 save percentage in 15 career outings
against the Wild.