|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, April 23, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 1,091
Kings continue playoff push at home against Wild
Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings
- Minnesota is 5-2-0 against the Kings this season, including a 2-1-0 mark in Los Angeles. The Wild opened the season with consecutive 4-3 overtime wins at Staples Center before suffering a 4-0 loss there on February 16.
- The Wild beat the Coyotes, 4-1, in Arizona on Wednesday, and have now won five in a row. Each of the last three has come by at least three goals, their third such streak this season. They had six total streaks of three wins by 3+ goals in franchise history prior to this year and have never won four straight.
- Kirill Kaprizov scored for the third consecutive game on Wednesday, his second three-game goal streak of the year. The goal was his 19th of the season, setting a new franchise record by a rookie and passing Marian Gaborik's mark of 18 from 2000-01.
- The Kings beat the Ducks, 4-1, at home on Tuesday, just their fourth win in their last 13 games (4-9-0). Each of the Kings' last 19 games has been decided in regulation -- they're the only team without an overtime game since March 10.
- Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and two assists on Tuesday, giving him 20 points (10g, 10a) this season, his first with Los Angeles. The only other Kings since 2012-13 to reach 10 goals and 10 assists in their first season with the team are Ilya Kovalchuk (2018-19) and Milan Lucic (2015-16).
- The Wild have been the league's best team in the first period this season, outscoring opponents by 18 goals (47 GF, 29 GA), three more than any other team. The Kings rank tied for 28th in first-period goal differential at -18 (31 GF, 49 GA).
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When the Los Angeles Kings traded away one of their veteran goal scorers earlier this month, it appeared they were resigned to missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
But the final playoff spot in the West Division continues to be up for grabs, and the Kings are one of four teams still in the hunt heading into their game Friday night against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
Los Angeles was five points behind the Arizona Coyotes for fourth place in the West entering Thursday and the Kings had played four fewer games.
The Coyotes had taken advantage of a seven-game losing streak by the St. Louis Blues to overtake them for fourth place in the West, but Arizona has since earned just two points in its past eight games.
The San Jose Sharks were in position to overtake both Arizona and St. Louis, but they've lost their past seven games.
The Kings haven't exactly seized their opportunity, but they've gone 3-3-0 in the past two weeks to stay within striking distance, even while trading forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for two future draft picks.
"We've had a bit of a rough stretch a little bit ago and we're still in reach of a playoff spot," Kings forward Blake Lizotte said. "We feel that we can get there. It's playoff hockey this time of year, and the intensity is going to continue to ramp up. I think we just need to focus on the details of our game. When we take care of our details, we're tough to beat."
Minnesota has gone 5-2-0 against the Kings so far this season with three wins coming in overtime. The Wild entered Thursday three points behind the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the West.
Look for the Kings to keep close tabs on Wild rookie Kirill Kaprizov, who scored his 19th goal of the season in a 4-1 win against the Coyotes on Wednesday night to break the single-season franchise record for a rookie.
Kaprizov had already surpassed the previous franchise high for points in a season by a rookie, and with goals in each of the past three games, he's the first Minnesota player to have two three-game goal streaks in his rookie season.
Kaprizov has also dinged Los Angeles for four goals and three assists in seven games this season.
"It's undeniable that he's taken this team and moved it to the next level with his play," Minnesota forward Nico Sturm said. "He's obviously getting targeted out there sometimes by the other team. They know that he's one of our best players."
Wild goalie Cam Talbot is 3-0-0 against Los Angeles this season and will likely get another opportunity to continue his hot streak, both against the Kings and overall.
Talbot is 5-0-1 in his past six starts, but he's not taking credit for all his success.
"This group is extremely resilient," Talbot said. "That's one of our best qualities right now."
The Kings will host fans for a second consecutive game, something that makes a big difference to the players, Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said.
"That tape of that generic fan noise, we can throw that thing away," McLellan said. "I hope I never hear that again. It was nice just to hear the fans get excited (the last game), hear the fans get upset, it felt right finally."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 22, 2021