Kings, Wild square off with both seeking first win

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild are not off to the respective starts these clubs had hoped.

Each team again looks for its first victory on the young season when they meet Saturday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Aiming to build on its first playoff appearance in four seasons, Los Angeles is off to a rocky start after losing 4-3 to Vegas and, most recently, 4-1 to Seattle on Thursday night — both at home. The Kings last opened with three consecutive regulation defeats in 2016-17.

“We have some work to do,” Kings forward Phillip Danault, who has yet to record a point after posting 51 last season, told reporters. “We’re not playing a full 60 minutes.

“We’re kind of sloppy with a couple passes, and the little details we haven’t capitalized, as well. … I mean, it’s not that we’re not trying.”

Los Angeles is 1-for-8 on the power play so far, while Jonathan Quick has stopped 65 of 72 shots faced in starting both contests. Quick has a 3.75 goals-against average while mired in an 0-3-1 road stretch versus Minnesota. However, Cal Petersen, who went 20-14-2 with a 2.89 goals-against average last season, could make his 2022-23 debut.

The Kings have dropped four straight amid a 2-8-3 road stretch at Minnesota. However, the Wild need to rebound from a rather ugly 7-3 home loss to the New York Rangers in their Thursday opener.

Minnesota didn’t allow a season-high seven goals last season until December (then again in February), but was already down 3-0 after one period on Thursday.

“It’s a slap in the face,” said Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 28 of the 35 shots he faced against the Rangers. “We just need to come back here and get ready for our next one.”

One early Wild bright spot was Matt Boldy, who scored twice in the opener.

“I’d give (the two goals) back in a heartbeat (for a win),” said Boldy, who has picked up where he left off from recording 15 goals and 24 assists in 47 games during a stellar rookie 2021-22 campaign.

“We just got blown out of the rink. It’s nothing you look back on too much.”

Boldy registered a goal with an assist during Minnesota’s 6-3 home win over Los Angeles on April 10. Teammate Kirill Kaprizov, who added an assist Thursday, also scored one of his 47 goals in that contest and has seven with four assists in 11 career games against the Kings.

Meanwhile, Fleury is 12-8-4 with a 2.51 goals-against average versus Los Angeles in his career.

Alex Iafallo and Gabriel Vilardi each have a goal and an assist through the first two games for the Kings. Iafallo has not recorded a point in his last seven games versus Minnesota.

Coming off his breakout 35-goal, 54-point 2021-22 season, Los Angeles’ Adrian Kempe has already tallied his first goal this season. He posted just one of those goals in three games against the Wild last season.

Since the franchise debuted in 2000-01, the Wild have never opened the season with back-to-back regulation home defeats.

–Field Level Media

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