Wild-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 07, 2011
The Minnesota Wild haven't won six in a row in nearly five years, and they've never won six straight on the road. They can accomplish both of those feats Thursday night in Los Angeles, where they were dominated by the Kings last month. Minnesota (18-7-3) leads the NHL with 39 points and is on its third five-game winning streak of the season after posting a 2-1 victory in San Jose on Tuesday night. The win was also the Wild's franchise record-tying fifth straight on the road. They haven't taken six in a row overall since winning a franchise-best nine consecutive games March 8-24, 2007. Tuesday's victory was all the more impressive considering Minnesota had to rely on its emergency goaltender. With starter Niklas Backstrom out because of a groin problem and Josh Harding leaving less than two minutes in with an apparent neck injury, Matt Hackett entered and stopped all 34 shots he faced to win his NHL debut. "I just jumped in there and tried to stop pucks," said Hackett, whose uncle Jeff Hackett played 15 seasons as a goalie in the NHL. "I'm still shaking. I was shaking the whole time. It's an unbelievable feeling." Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored late in the first period to help Minnesota win for the 10th time in 12 games. Koivu leads the Wild with 18 assists and 23 points, and he has four goals and nine assists in the past 10 contests. Hackett may be pressed into action again Thursday with the statuses of Backstrom and Harding unknown, and coach Mike Yeo sounded as if the Wild won't miss a beat if the 21-year-old is in net. "Really impressive," Yeo said. "... It's not an easy situation to go in and play your first game. The way he handled it, he was in control all night." Los Angeles (13-10-4) was in control for the first two periods against the visiting Wild on Nov. 12, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and knocking Harding out en route to a 5-2 victory. The Kings are 5-1-1 at home against the Wild since the 2008-09 season. Los Angeles has lost two straight and four of six after falling 3-2 in Anaheim on Tuesday night. The Kings tied the game in the third period after falling behind 2-0, but allowed the winning goal with 48.8 seconds remaining. Justin Williams ended a 17-game goal drought and Slava Voynov also scored for Los Angeles, which hasn't scored more than two goals in six straight games. "I thought we generated some opportunities here," said coach Terry Murray, who was denied his 500th career victory. "We had plenty of good looks and point-blank situations. I liked our attitude. If you do that consistently, you're going to get some more goals." Five players scored for the Kings in last month's matchup with the Wild, who may be without right wing Devin Setoguchi for this game. Setoguchi, tied for the team lead with eight goals, left Tuesday's contest with a lower-body injury.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook leads NBA in scoring, averages a triple-double… and will not start in All-Star Game

John Tortorella challenges LeBron: “Not a chance” he could play hockey

Orioles, Mark Trumbo close to agreeing on 3-year deal

Report: Khris Middleton could return before All-Star break

Over a dozen Steelers players dealing with the flu

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Mularkey: Marcus Mariota ‘should be ready’ for 2017 season

WATCH: Angry fan interrupts Chargers Los Angeles presser

Serena Williams forced a reporter to apologize for saying she played poorly

Pablo Sandoval has 'reshaped himself' this offseason, John Farrell says

Report: Seahawks could lose second-rounder for not disclosing Sherman injury

Kemba Walker on if he should be an All-Star: ‘Not really,'

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Was Jack Capuano the right person to blame for Isles' woes?

Ten NBA players who need a change of scenery

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

QUIZ: Name every NCAA men's and women's basketball team with perfect regular seasons

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker