Kings (5-2-0) vs. Minnesota Wild (3-3-1) at Xcel Energy Center, 5 p.m. (PT)
Five storylines to track:
1. Kings seeing Greene – Kings defenseman Matt Greene made his season debut Saturday night in a 6-4 victory at Colorado. Greene had been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. To make room for Greene, the Kings assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. By not placing Drew Doughty (upper-body injury) on injured reserve to make room for Greene, there’s a strong possibility Doughty could return for Wednesday’s game at Chicago.
2. Richardson on a roll? – Kings forward Brad Richardson tends to score goals in bunches. He went 22 months without a goal before scoring the game-winner in a 4-3 victory against the Ducks last Dec. 1, then scored in the next two games as well. On Saturday night against Colorado, he scored his first goal of the season, then added two more for his first career hat trick.
3. This butt is no joke – Kings forward Wayne Simmonds received a game misconduct and a five-minute major penalty for jabbing Colorado center T.J. Galiardi in the groin wth the butt-end of his stick midway through the third period Saturday night. The league is expected to review the incident, if they haven’t already, but it’s looking more unlikely that Simmonds will face in additional disciplinary action. Galiardi was not seriously injured.
4. The Wild are juiced – Minnesota’s home arena is appropriately named considering the Wild have scored on 38.7% of their power plays, which is tops in the league. They also have an NHL-leading 12 power-play goals in 31 man-advantage situations. Matt Cullen has been the most productive player on the power play, earning eight of his nine points with the man advantage. The Kings, meanwhile, remain strong on the penalty kill, owning an 87.9% penalty-kill rate, 10th-best in the league.
5. Hidden Cam – Wild defenseman Cam Barker, the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, has tumbled down to the third pairing. The 24-year-old came to Minnesota from Chicago last February in a trade for defenseman Kim Johnsson and prospect Nick Leddy. He brought with him a three-year $9.5 million deal that he signed during the 2009 offseason. He has three assists and a minus-two rating through six games, hardly what you expect at that price tag.