Three goals in two contests is not the offensive firepower that Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter envisioned his club to produce to begin the season. With his team already missing Marian Gaborik (broken right foot), Sutter hopes the return of fellow top-six forward Tanner Pearson from a two-game suspension will ignite the Kings on Tuesday when they open a brief two-game road trip against the Minnesota Wild.
The 24-year-old Pearson, who collected career highs in goals (15), assists (21) and points (36) last season, served his ban for a check to the head of Edmonton defenseman Brandon Davidson during the preseason. Minnesota’s offense sputtered out of the gate as well, mustering just two goals in its season opener before erupting for four unanswered tallies in a 4-3 triumph over Winnipeg on Saturday in the beginning of a three-game homestand. The scoring outburst came on the heels of another type of outburst -- that being a tongue-lashing by new coach Bruce Boudreau. “There were choice words by Bruce, I guess you could say, but they were the right things said,” said veteran Eric Staal, who scored his first goal with his new team after signing a three-year, $10.5 million contract in the offseason.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE KINGS (0-2-0): Tyler Toffoli scored his team’s lone goal in a 2-1 setback to San Jose on Wednesday and is a plus-1 after two contests on the heels of leading the league with a plus-35 rating last season. The 24-year-old Ontario native has recorded seven points (four goals, three assists) in nine career encounters with Minnesota, with two tallies coming in last season’s three-game series. Anze Kopitar scored in overtime of a 2-1 triumph over the Wild on Oct. 16, 2015, and has set up a goal in each outing this season.
ABOUT THE WILD (1-1-0): Chris Stewart collected his fourth career “Gordie Howe hat trick” on Saturday to continue his success under the tutelage of Boudreau, with whom he scored eight goals and set up 12 others in Anaheim last season. Captain Mikko Koivu notched an assist versus the Jets and has amassed 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 33 career meetings with Los Angeles -- including a pair of power-play goals last season. Erik Haula also tallied twice versus the Kings, but has yet to record a point in 2016-17.
1. Los Angeles RW Devin Setoguchi will look to crack the scoresheet for the first time in 2016-17 versus Minnesota, with which he played two seasons (2011-13).
2. Wild G Devan Dubnyk has yielded three goals in each contest this season, but stopped 38 of 39 shots in his last encounter with the Kings.
3. Minnesota has killed off all six short-handed situations while Los Angeles is 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
PREDICTION: Wild 3, Kings 2