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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, January 7th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Wild (22-17-5) at Los Angeles Kings (26-13-4), 10:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings used the return of world-class goaltender Jonathan Quick to help snap their longest losing streak of the season.

The Minnesota Wild will have to try and further bury a recent losing streak without one of their top scoring threats.

The Kings try to deny the Wild a third straight victory on Tuesday night when the clubs meet for the first time since their respective season openers.

Los Angeles went into Saturday's home meeting with the Vancouver Canucks off a winless four-game road trip that pushed their losing streak to five in a row overall. The Kings had been held to six goals and shut out twice over the skid, but got 27 stops from Quick in a 3-1 win.

Quick was solid in his return from a strained groin that sidelined him for 24 games. However, he showed little rust in his first game action since Nov. 12.

"The team played great in front of me. I had a few rebounds that got away from me and guys cleared them out," said Quick.

Dustin Brown had a goal and Jeff Carter scored twice, one an empty-netter, in head coach Darryl Sutter's 1,000th NHL game behind the bench.

Carter has eight goals and 14 points in his last 12 games. He has seven goals and nine points in 14 career games versus the Wild, who have opened the new year with back-to-back wins after closing December on a six-game losing streak.

Minnesota is aiming to win three in a row for the first time since a four-game run from Nov. 9-17, but will be without captain Mikko Koivu for the next four weeks after he underwent surgery on Monday on a fractured ankle suffered while blocking a shot in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals.

Koivu is tops on the club with 27 assists and 35 points, notching a pair of helpers in the win over the Caps to give him eight points over a five-game point streak.

Koivu and netminder Josh Harding (illness) were both placed on injured reserve Monday.

With Koivu out, the Wild could use more support like Ryan Suter gave on Saturday. He notched the first hat trick of his career and first by a defenseman in team history.

Suter scored a pair of power-play goals 38 seconds apart in the second period to put the Wild in front by one and later finished his trick midway through the third frame.

"I can't even score two in summer hockey. I can't get the smile off my face," said Suter, who has scored all five of his goals this season over the past four games.

Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter scored the other goals for the Wild, while Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 27 shots.

The Wild hosted the Kings in the first of three meetings this season back on Oct. 3, with Los Angeles claiming a 3-2 shootout win. Carter netted a game- tying goal on Backstrom late in the third period before notching a shootout tally as well.

Quick made 27 saves and stopped both skaters he faced in the tiebreaker to improve to 8-3-2 with a 2.56 goals against average in his career versus the Wild.

Backstrom made just 16 saves through overtime and is 8-6-4 in his career versus the Kings with a 2.41 GAA and two shutouts.

Los Angeles has won six of its past nine at home against Minnesota.

01/07 11:17:49 ET

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