NHL on NBCSN: Wild continue their playoff chase against Kings

Associated Press
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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Los Angeles Kings at 8:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The Minnesota Wild may not be in a playoff spot right now, but they’re coming off a positive weekend with shootout wins over Carolina and Chicago.

“It says a lot,” Wild coach John Torchetti said of winning both their games over the weekend, per NHL.com. “It says that [our guys] want it. Some people are questioning us that we want it, but not me. I think we want it.”

After an embarrassing 7-4 loss to the Devils on Thursday, Torchetti decided to shake things up by making Thomas Vanek a healthy scratch. The Wild’s former coach, Mike Yeo, did the same thing earlier this season, but the team never responded and he ended up being fired days later.

“I think at this point there’s no need to talk,” Vanek prior to Sunday’s game against Chicago. “We’re trying to win games and if that’s what [Torchetti] thinks is the best lineup, I’ve got to respect that. It is what it is.”

The Wild are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams will face-off on Saturday Night. But before the Wild get a crack at the Avs, they’ll have to take down a couple of other opponents, including the Kings.

Los Angeles is coming off a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators last night. Starting goaltender Jonathan Quick was given the hook after allowing three goals in the second period.

“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” said Kings center Anze Kopitar via NHL.com. “Bottom line is you can’t play a period like we did in the second tonight. You can’t take a period like that off.”

The Kings are one of the few teams that have already clinched a  playoff spot, but they’re still fighting for playoff positioning. Los Angeles currently sits atop the Pacific Division standings. They’re four points ahead of the Ducks and five points ahead of the Sharks.