Los Angeles Hockey: Matt Cullen

Kings: Here comes the Wild bunch

December, 11, 2010
Minnesota Wild (12-11-4) vs. Kings (16-10-0) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. A December to remember? – The month of December hasn’t been particularly kind to the Kings. Their franchise-best record during that span is 9-5-1 in 2005, which happens to be their worst best record for any month. Anybody recall the eight-game losing streak in December 2007? They’re skating against the grain this month, however, owning a 3-0 record heading into their game against the Wild. A victory would be just the right shove-off for their five-game road trip beginning Monday in Detroit.

2. A pleasant surprise – Anybody who has watched rookie defenseman Alec Martinez play this season must wonder why it took so long to for him to become a regular NHL player. He skates with speed, power and grace, has a slap shot that could splinter a redwood and plays with the confidence and intelligence of a 10-year veteran. Kings coach Terry Murray acknowledged Friday that Martinez has been one of the biggest surprises this season.

3. Scoring slump? What scoring slump? – With three game-winning goals in the last three games, Anze Kopitar is back on pace to match last season’s scoring totals. In 26 games this season, he has a team-high 11 goals and 25 points. Last season, he had a career-high 34 goals and 81 points in 82 regular-season games. What’s more impressive with his scoring totals, Kopitar has played with seven different left wings this season.

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Kings: Out of Colorado and into the Wild

October, 24, 2010
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.

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