The Los Angeles Kings will open their season this Thursday. The Kings (0-0) will visit the Minnesota Wild (0-0) at the Xcel Cinergy Center. The puck is set to drop at 8:00 PM Eastern Time and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.
The Kings will hope to get their season off on the right foot, but it will not be easy as they will face last year’s Western Conference 8th seed, the Minnesota Wild. The Kings come into this game with a fairly healthy team, the only one to note is winger Dustin Brown. Brown is recovering from a hamstring injury and could be held out for Thursday’s opener. If that is the case new King, Matt Frattin would be bumped up to the first line to play alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. The Kings will be looking to score goals and a lot of them as their first and second lines are some of the most formidable in the league. Their second line will consist of last year’s leading goal scorer Jeff Carter and talented center Mike Richards. 2 of the top defenseman in the league will headline the 1st line in Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov.
As for their opponent, the Minnesota Wild will look to improve on last season’s finish of 8th place. The Wild were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by eventual champs, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild lost quite a bit from last year’s playoff team, Devin Setoguchi was traded to the Winnepeg Jets and Matt Cullen signed with the Nashville Predators. Minnesota still boasts 2 of the top players at their position in winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter. There is no arguing the talent on the Wild’s top line, but depth may be an issue for this season’s team. Dany Heatly headlines Minnesota’s second line and youngsters Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund will be looked at to contribute more this season.
The Los Angeles Kings should not be too confident entering this game, as they did lose 2 out of 3 games last season to the Wild. Any game on the road will be difficult and more so a season opener. The Kings should be prepared for this season’s opener as they had a full training camp compared to last season’s lockout shortened season. The keys in this game will be how the 2nd and 3rd lines of each team do against each other and whose defense will hold up stronger. As mentioned before the Kings boast some firepower on their second line with Carter and Richards. One stat to note is that the Kings ranked in the top 10 last year in goals per game, while the Wild finished in the bottom 10 in the league. This should be an entertaining game as both teams will look to leave with the W.