Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 8th
Wild3Final
Kings6
Game 2: Monday, December 28th
Wild4Final
Kings3
Game 3: Thursday, December 31st
Kings5Final
Wild2
Game 4: Monday, March 29th
Kings2Final
Wild3

Kings 5

(23-15-3, 49 pts)

Wild 2

(20-18-3, 43 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 31, 2009

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
LA 3 1 15
MIN 0 1 12

A. Frolov (Kings - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Handzus (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

O. Nolan (Wild - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Kings-Wild Preview

STATS LLC

The Minnesota Wild have a chance to end 2009 by making a little history.

The Wild look to set a club record for most victories in a month Thursday night when they try to beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings for the second time in four days.

Minnesota (20-17-3) has one last chance to win for the 11th time while trying to extend Los Angeles' season-high losing streak to five games. The Wild, who've managed to overcome a 1-6-0 start to the season, also won 10 games in March 2007.

Though the Wild had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss at Anaheim on Tuesday, they ended a five-game skid to the Kings (22-15-13) with a 4-3 victory at Los Angeles a night earlier.

Eric Belanger, who spent his first five NHL seasons with Los Angeles, had two goals with an assist Monday, including the game-winner late in the third period. Belanger has three goals and three assists in nine career games against his former team.

"Good teams find ways to win and character teams find ways to win," said first-year Wild coach Todd Richards of his team's latest victory.

Antti Miettinen and Kim Johnsson scored and Mikko Koivu added two assists against the Ducks.

Koivu, the team leader with 38 points, has five assists in his last four games. He also has two goals with 11 assists in 14 career games versus the Kings.

Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves against Los Angeles earlier this week for his third straight victory while improving to 18-12-3 with a 2.49 goals-against average on the season.

After sitting out against Anaheim, Backstrom is likely to be back in net for this contest. He is 3-2-2 with a 2.31 GAA all-time against the Kings.

Rookie Scott Parse, who scored 12 seconds before Belanger's tally Monday, had Los Angeles' goal in a 2-1 loss at Calgary on Wednesday.

A lack of offense has been the main problem of late for the Kings, who have scored three or fewer goals in their last eight games. Los Angeles' last five contests have been determined by one goal.

Leading scorer Anze Kopitar (39 points) is likely to play after being hit hard by Calgary's Dion Phaneuf in the first period. Kopitar didn't miss a shift after the hit that sent him headfirst where the boards meet the glass.

"That's one of the dirtiest hits in the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "That's been addressed at the league level and that's why the referee called a game misconduct."

Kopitar had a goal with two assists in a 6-3 win over Minnesota on Oct. 8. He has four goals in his last six games against the Wild, but has been held to just two assists in his last six contests overall.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick will likely start for the Kings after Erik Ersberg got the call against the Flames. Quick is 20-13-3 with a 2.63 GAA this season, and 4-1-0 with a 2.57 GAA versus the Wild after losing to them Monday following a 19-save outing.

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