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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Los Angeles

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Los Angeles
Los Angeles Kings vs. Minnesota Wild
 
Minnesota Wild (0-0-0: 0 points, T-6th in Western Conference, T-4th in Central Division) vs. Los Angeles Kings (0-0-0: 0 points, T-6th in Western Conference, T-3rd in Pacific Division)
Welcome back, State of Hockey fans.

After a long summer and what seemed like an even longer training camp (after last season’s lockout shortened one-week camp), the Wild kicks off the 2013-14 regular season by hosting the Los Angeles Kings. Last year, the Wild won both games at Xcel Energy Center against the Kings, going 2-1-0 overall.

The Wild is unbeaten in Xcel Energy Center home openers, posting an all-time record of 11-0-1. A victory against LA will also extend the club’s home win streak against the Kings to four games.

Minnesota opens the season with a few new players—both grizzled veteran and fresh-faced youngsters—in the lineup. Free agent signings forward Matt Cooke and defenseman Keith Ballard, who is a Baudette native, will make their debuts in Forrest Green.

Nino Niederreiter, who was acquired from the New York Islanders along with a third-round pick for Cal Clutterbuck at the NHL Entry Draft, will play in his first game for Minnesota on a line with second-year pro Charlie Coyle and veteran Dany Heatley. In his second year in Minnesota, Coyle moves from wing to center and looks primed for a breakout season.

A player familiar to many in the Lake Superior region of the State of Hockey is Justin Fontaine. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog will make his NHL debut with the Wild. Last season, Fontaine led the Huston Aeros in scoring with 56 points (23-33=56).  

On the blue line, Mathew Dumba, the Wild’s 2012 first-round pick, looks like he'll have to wait to make his NHL debut tonight. The 19-year-old can play in nine regular season games before the Wild makes a decision on whether to return him to Red Deer for another season of junior hockey.

With Coyle moving to second line center, the Wild’s top line is composed of Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Jason Pominville. The trio has looked good in preseason games and has the potential to be one of the deadliest lines the organization has ever fielded. Even more good news for the top line, Pominville signed a five-year extension with the Wild today.

In preseason, Minnesota went 4-2-0. Meanwhile, the Kings finished preseason with a 3-3-1 record.
Meet The Blues If You're Going
A season removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Kings have the major players from that Cup run in the organization. Last season’s top scorer, Anze Kopitar (10-32=42) leads Los Angeles offensively. Drew Doughty anchors the blue line, while Slava Voynov had a breakout season leading Kings’ defensemen with 25 points (6-19=25).

The wall that led the Kings to its first Cup win in franchise history and looks to keep it a Western Conference favorite is goaltender Jonathan Quick.  Despite posting a career-low save percentage last year (.904), the Milford, Conn., native remains one of the top money goaltenders in the league, posting a .934 SV% during the playoffs.  
All fans in attendance will receive a 2013-14 Wild calendar.

Due to weather uncertainty, the outdoor pre-game party has been cancelled. Some elements will move inside, including:
• Fan Souvenir Opening Night Photo booth – inside of Skyway entrance to Gate One
• NHL Alumni Autographs at the Bud Light Fan Zone from 5:45pm – 6:30pm
• Face Painting in the main concourse

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Charlie Coyle led the Wild with three goals and a plus-4 rating and ranked tied for first with four points appearing in five preseason games. He finished last season on a season-best four-game point streak and a two-game assist streak.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge presented by the Pioneer Press for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild | Pominville signs five-year extension
WildTV
Pominville On Extension |Fletcher on Pominville | Yeo - Oct. 3 | Koivu, Parise on Pominville Extension | Players Preview - Oct. 3 |
PONDcast
Wild vs. Kings Preview
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The Wild’s lineup features a mixture of veteran experience with youthful exuberance:

Parise – Koivu – Pominville
Nieterreider – Coyle – Heatley
Granlund – Brodziak – Cooke
Mitchell – Konopka – Fontaine

You can lock in the top two, but we’ll know the rest of the D-pairs after the team’s morning skate:

Suter – Brodin
Spurgeon – Scandella
Ballard – Stoner

Niklas Backstrom will get the opening night nod in net. The goaltender is 8-6-3 with a 2.45 GAA, a .913 SV% and two shutouts in 19 games (18 starts) vs. Los Angeles.
View From The Press Box
We want to get better offensively. That's been well documented, we've talked about it an awful lot. But our bread and butter still has to be that we have to be a great defensive team. The challenge for us is we have to keep building onto that offensive part without taking away from that defensive part.

- Yeo on balancing offense and defense
The Wild has to sit two defensemen and it looks like Nate Prosser and Mathew Dumba will be out of the lineup tonight.

Mike Rupp is out with a lower-body injury. 
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Defenseman Willie Mitchell skated in 288 games with Minnesota in parts of five seasons (2000-06). The Wild is undefeated in home openers at Xcel Energy Center with an 11-0-1 record.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Columbus will be broadcast nationally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time of 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.

Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
 
Wild.com
Training Camp Central | Duluth Open Practice Packs In Fans | Pominville Feeling At Home | Duluth Trip Special For Fontaine
WildTV
Yeo - Oct 2 | Duluth Trip Recap - Oct 2 |
PONDcast
PONDcast - Oct 2
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. STL - Sept 25 |

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '14 MIN 3 at LAK 2 M. Koivu
Jan 07 '14 MIN 2 at LAK 1 - SO N. Niederreiter
Oct 03 '13 LAK 3 at MIN 2 - SO A. Kopitar
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Carter1101+0000
D. Doughty1101+0010
R. Regehr1011+1000
S. Voynov1011+1000
A. Kopitar1011+0000
M. Frattin1011+0000
W. Mitchell1000+0200
J. Williams1000+0000
J. Stoll1000+0000
D. Brown1000+0000
M. Richards1000+0000
C. Fraser1000+0700
T. Lewis1000+0000
D. King1000+0000
K. Clifford1000+0900
J. Nolan1000+0000
M. Greene1000-1200
J. Muzzin1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Quick11-0-02291.85.931
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Cooke1101+1000
J. Brodin1101-1010
K. Brodziak1011+1000
M. Granlund1011+1000
N. Niederreiter1011-1200
M. Scandella1000+1000
J. Spurgeon1000+1000
M. Koivu1000+0000
J. Pominville1000+0000
Z. Konopka1000+0700
K. Ballard1000+0500
Z. Parise1000+0000
C. Stoner1000+0000
T. Mitchell1000+0000
J. Fontaine1000+0000
D. Heatley1000-1000
R. Suter1000-1000
C. Coyle1000-1200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom10-0-12181.85.889
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