It's always a good time when the defending Stanley Cup champs come to town. Tonight, the LA Kings swing through St. Paul, and catch the Wild on the bad end of a back-to-back and coming off a loss to a team they should have beat. Of course, losing one after winning seven straight isn't cause for concern, except when you get smacked in the face by one of the best teams in the league waiting for you.
The Wild are going to need to find a way to put Dallas behind them and find a whole new gear for tonight. This is the real deal, and the Wild need to understand that. Make a stupid move against the Kings, and you'll pay for it. A cross ice pass you shouldn't have made? It'll be in the back of the net. Didn't get rid of the puck fast enough, you're going to get hit. Hard. Lazy pass in the offensive zone? Now you're back peddling.
Yes, tonight, the Wild play a real NHL team. One that can crush an opponent in a matter of minutes, and one that is not going to ease up at any point in the game.
The top line for the Wild is going to need to produce, the secondary scoring is going to need to show up, and the defense is going to need to be flawless. And still, Niklas Backstrom is going to have to be superb. If any of these things don't happen, chalk up a losing streak. No one wants that.
Let last night go, refocus, get back in it. Maybe let Brett Clark make his Wild debut. There are several d-men that need to find a way to stop sucking, and maybe Clark can show them how it's done.
Enjoy the game. Speeding train to the end of the season at this point.