Wild-Kings Preview

The Associated Press

Jonathan Quick didn't need long to get settled in after a long layoff as he helped the Los Angeles Kings end a lengthy losing streak.

The Minnesota Wild appear to be back on track after a slump of their own, though they haven't played very well away from home lately and have now lost captain Mikko Koivu for a month.

Quick could be in net as Los Angeles looks to deal Minnesota a fifth straight road loss Tuesday night.

After being sidelined 24 games with a groin injury, Quick made 27 saves as the Kings (26-13-4) ended a five-game skid with a 3-1 win over Vancouver on Saturday. Los Angeles had given up at least three goals in four of its last five.

Quick was named to the U.S. Olympic team Wednesday.

"When I said I was ready, that meant I was ready to do it," said Quick, 11-5-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average in his 17 starts. "You don't come in feeling 80 percent. If that was the case, I wouldn't have sat out the first two months. I felt 100 percent."

Jeff Carter scored the go-ahead goal in third period before adding an empty-netter.

''We know who he is,'' Carter said of Quick. ''First game back, I thought he was sharp. He looked pretty good to me, so I think all doubts were gone."

Quick's return resulted in the Kings having to send Martin Jones back to the minors despite the rookie's record-tying start to his career. Jones is 8-3-0 and leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.41) and save percentage (.950), but the club had a logjam of outstanding goalies in Quick, Jones and Ben Scrivens, who has posted a 1.97 GAA and will remain the backup.

Quick made 27 saves and two more in the shootout to help the Kings beat the Wild 3-2 on Oct. 3. He's 8-3-2 with a 2.56 GAA in 13 career starts against Minnesota, which has won two straight following a team-record six-game slide.

The Wild (22-17-5) beat Buffalo 4-1 on Thursday before Ryan Suter netted a hat trick in a 5-3 victory over Washington on Saturday. Minnesota, though, is 1-8-1 in its last 10 on the road and hasn't won in regulation away from home since Nov. 20.

''When you have that consistency in your game, that's when you get consistent results, and so that's our challenge now,'' coach Mike Yeo said. ''We have to come into our next game and we have to be determined to be better than we were (Saturday).''

Suter became the first defenseman in franchise history to record three goals in a game in the latest contest. The Wild were outshot 30-11 and became the first team since the NHL officially began tracking shots on goal in 1973-74 to score five goals on fewer than 12 shots.

Minnesota was outshot 11-1 and booed off the ice after the first 20 minutes.

''First period was terrible,'' Suter said. "(We) didn't have a lot of energy. We came in (the locker room), got yelled at, and went out and played the way we needed to play."

Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves in place of Josh Harding, who missed his second straight game due to an illness and was placed on injured reserve Monday. Harding is among the league leaders with a 1.65 GAA.

Minnesota will be without Koivu for about four weeks after he underwent surgery to repair a broken ankle Monday. He has a team-high 35 points and had played in every game this season before getting injured against Washington.

Backstrom made 16 saves in the October meeting and is 3-1-1 with a 2.56 GAA in his last five starts against the Kings.

Minnesota has won three of four meetings in Los Angeles.

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