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Wild looking forward to Kevin Fiala reunion

In just the second game of Minnesota’s season it will have a testy meetup.

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

The ice isn’t even fully frozen yet at the Xcel Energy Center and the Minnesota Wild already have to deal with a potential emotionally charged return of a former player. In just the second game of the regular season, Kevin Fiala is coming back as a member of the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

While typically you want to prepare yourself for these games and at least act like you’re better off after losing a winger that scored 85 points last season and had to be shipped off for future players because of some cap trouble, right now, the Wild are on their back heels after losing 7-3 to the New York Rangers in their season opener and are feeling the pressure. Not only to make this season with high expectations start on a terrible foot, but to move on from a player that provided a whole lot.

We might be seeing this from our own biased perspective of wanting the best for the Wild, but some players are looking forward to the reunion because they get to see their friend again on the ice.

“Oh yeah, it’s going to be fun,” Eriksson Ek said with a slight smirk. “I mean, this is a good friend of mine. It’s big game for both teams so I’m sure it’s going to be a fun game.”

Eriksson Ek was one of the few bright spots on Thursday, getting a career-high eight shots on net and being all over Igor Shesterkin, trying to will the Wild back into the game off his stick. Maybe we’ll see some rough and tumble plays from Joel, and we know that he will be hard-matched against the Kings’ top line that features his friend Fiala.

For others, the relationship goes back even further and it will just be time to catch up as two players that have weaved through the NHL.

“We go years back, Kevin and I,” Frederick Gaudreau said after practice on Friday. “It started in Milwaukee together, so he’s been a good friend of mine since that time. I just have a smile on my face when I think of him. It’s been fun years playing with him, so it’s going to be good that he’s back but bottom line is we have a game to play and that’s it.”

There certainly will be a game to play, and it starts at 7:00 p.m. from The X.