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Wild @ Kings: Game preview, tale of the tape, projected lineups

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Is the 6th time a charm? Will this be worth staying up late for? Stay tuned to find out!

The Kings are one of the best teams in the league, so the Wild will need to bring it to come away with a W tonight.
The Kings are one of the best teams in the league, so the Wild will need to bring it to come away with a W tonight.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

WldvKings

Hopefully the Wild got a good night's sleep in after losing their season-worst 5th game in a row, because they'll be making the short drive from Anaheim to Los Angeles to play the Kings on the second half of a back-to-back.

The Kings missed the playoffs last year in one of the weirdest (and most hilarious) flukes in a while. That's not going to happen this year. LA's 61 points are the 5th-most in the NHL, and they've got a commanding 12-point lead over second-place San Jose. And weirdly enough, they're not just fattening up on the extremely weak Pacific Division. They've got a 7-2-1 against the Central, earning one win against each team in the NHL's toughest division.

There are a lot of big names on this roster- Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter, Milan Lucic, etc. But one player I'm definitely going to be watching tonight is Tyler Toffoli. Since breaking into the league in the 2012-14 season, Toffoli is in the league's Top-20 in 5v5 Goals/60. Not only that, he's lethal on the power play, as well as one of the best penalty killers in the NHL. Even with 22 goals on the season, he's not really getting the recognition he deserves.

It's hard to find new things to say about the Wild at this point. While dropping last night's game to the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota put all their familiar tropes on display. Getting lots of chances but only almost cashing it in? Check. Another goalless night on the power play? Check. Agitated Wild fans venting on Twitter? Check. Until they start doing something new- scoring, for example- there's not going to be a lot to say that hasn't been said.

Stranger things have happened, but tonight's probably not the night the Wild's losing streak ends. LA is one of the best possession teams in the league, and the Wild typically have trouble with the size that they bring to the rink. Throw in the fact that it's a back-to-back for Minnesota, and there's not a ton of room for optimism tonight.

No word as to who the starter will be tonight, but Darcy Kuemper had a great performance at the Staples Center earlier this year, stopping 35 of 36 shots before allowing the game-winner in overtime. On the other hand, Dubnyk's been hot this season, and has a .946 Sv% with 0 days rest since coming to the Wild. It could go either way, but with Minnesota desperate to break that losing streak, I'd guess The Dub has the inside track.

That's all I've got for now. We'll have more updates as the day progresses, but in the meantime, let's look at the Tale of the Tape and tonight's projected lineups.

Projected Lineups

Minnesota Wild

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Thomas Vanek

Mikko Koivu

Jason Zucker

Zach Parise

Mikael Granlund

Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter

Charlie Coyle

Justin Fontaine

Chris Porter

Faceoff Man

Erik Haula

Left Defensemen

Right Defensemen

Ryan Suter

Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin

Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella

Nate Prosser

Goalies

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Los Angeles Kings

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Milan Lucic

Anze Kopitar

Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson

Vincent Lecavalier

Jeff Carter

Dwight King

Trevor Lewis

Dustin Brown

Andy Andreoff

Nick Shore

Marian Gaborik

Left Defensemen

Right Defensemen

Brayden McNabb

Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez

Luke Schenn

Jake Muzzin

Jamie McBain

Goalies

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth