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Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings: Game 61

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Minnesota Wild (32-22-6) vs Los Angeles Kings (33-23-4)


Staples Center @ 9:30 PM CST Television: FSN (HD)
Listen live on Wild.com, or locally at 830 AM


For the Los Angeles perspective, check out Jewels From The Crown and Battle of California

Minnesota Wild Los Angeles Kings

Andrew Brunette - Matt Cullen - Antti Miettinen
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - John Madden - Martin Havlat
Cal Clutterbuck- Cody Almond - Chuck Kobasew
Brad Staubitz - Eric Nystrom - Jed Ortmeyer

Clayton Stoner - Greg Zanon
Nick Schultz -Brent Burns
Jared Spurgeon - Marek Zidlicky

Niklas Backstrom
Jose Theodore

Marco Sturm - Anze Kopitar - Wayne Simmonds
Ryan Smyth - Jarret Stoll - Dustin Brown
Brad Richardson - Michal Handzus - Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Alexei Ponikarovsky

Willie Mitchell - Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Davis Drewiske - Matt Greene

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick

Fifth place. Fifth, and it is all on the line. Tied at 70 points with these very Kings, and two other squads, and just two points away from just three other teams. All of which are in action tonight. Win, and stay in fifth, lose and they could drop out of the race completely.

And you thought this was going to get easier.

Tonight, the Wild face a strong Kings team, and one that has shown some severe fluxes in play. Early favorites for the Pacific crown, the Kings are now in the thick of playoff hunt, and yet on the bubble. Just like the Wild. The Kings are hungry, they are desperate, and they are very, very good.

If the Wild hope to win this game, they will need to find a way to overcome the loss of not only Mikko Koivu, but now Kyle Bridziak as well. The physical style of play will not allow the Wild to triple shift centers, and Todd Richards counters by sliding Nystrom over.

How all of this adds up for the Wild will be interesting to watch. They have overcome a great deal, and yet they have never faced this situation before. High pressure, their leader down, and now one of the hottest hands on the team is down. It will take a Herculean effort, and one this team is more than capable of. Cal Clutterbuck will need another big game to counter that of Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Brown.

Clearly, the defense will have its hands full, will even less scoring punch than the Wild had before. Huge games will be needed from everyone on the blue line. Defending Backstrom from the net crashing Kings, and they will need to help with some offense as well. Every little bit helps.

Five Questions:

  1. How will Ortmeyer look in his first action with the Wild?
  2. Who steps up with Brodziak out?
  3. Can the d-men defend Backstrom?
  4. Speaking of Backstrom, he'll need a top effort to win this. Can he pull it off?
  5. Jared Spurgeon's jersey was up to $450 in early bidding. Does he lead the race at the end of this game?