The Los Angeles Kings, when they’re at their best, make you pay for every inch of the ice. Even with all the time they spend possessing the puck, they still lead the NHL in hits. The defending Stanley Cup champions play the prototypical “heavy” brand of hockey.
Tonight in St. Paul, the Minnesota Wild will get a taste of it.
“It’s never an easy game (against the Kings),” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, per the StarTribune. “And it’s not necessarily a fun one, either, especially if you’re not executing, you’re not performing the way you need to. It will certainly be a good test tonight.”
Despite earning five wins in their last six, including Monday’s 4-1 victory in Florida that Yeo called “another step in the right direction,” the Wild don’t want any complacency to creep into their game.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Yeo. “We’re not where we need to be, and this is a great team we’re playing tonight. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready.”
Minnesota has a couple of more good tests coming up. Friday it’s a visit to Dallas to take on a Stars team that’s won three straight, then it’s straight back to work Saturday at home against St. Louis, another of those “heavy” hockey teams that the Western Conference seems to breed.
The Wild and Kings have already played once this season, with L.A. taking a 2-1 decision, despite being outshot 41-16, on Oct. 19 at Staples Center.
Jonathan Quick was the star of that game, and he’s expected to be between the pipes again tonight.