(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild hope that having pulled off a big tradeon Wednesday can help them avoid their first three-game slide in over twomonths on Thursday night as they visit the Los Angeles Kings.
The Wild have followed up a seven-game winning streak with setbacks in threeof their last four games. That includes consecutive defeats to St. Louis andSan Jose, giving Minnesota back-to-back losses for the first time since Feb.12-14. It hasn't dropped three in a row since Feb. 1-7.
Despite the recent slide, the Wild are still tied with the Vancouver Canucksatop the Northwest Division with 44 points, but hold the current tiebreakerwith two more victories. The Canucks host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursdaynight.
Minnesota had a big offseason with the signings of forward Zach Parise anddefenseman Ryan Suter. It continued to stock up on talent before yesterday'strade deadline, acquiring forward Jason Pominville from the Buffalo Sabresalong with a 2014 fourth-round draft pick for goaltender Matt Hackett, forwardJohan Larsson, a first-round draft pick in 2013 and a second-round pick in2014.
Pominville recorded 10 goals and 15 assists in 37 games with the Sabres thisseason. In 2011-12, he had 30 goals and 43 assists while being selected to theNHL All-Star Game.
Parise called Pominville a hard worker with an all-around game who can scoregoals.
"It's really exciting for us," Parise said. "It just gives you the sense thatthey believe in the way we've been playing and they believe in our team. Nowit's up to us to elevate our game even more. That addition gives us a goodlook and a lot of good offensive players."
Pominville did not have enough time to make his Wild debut in last night'sgame with the Sharks and center Matt Cullen also missed the game with a lowerbody injury. That left Minnesota a little shorthanded in a 4-2 loss and thingsgot worse when forward Dany Heatley appeared to suffer a wrist injury aftertrading punches with San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic as time expired.
Heatley, whose current status is unknown, and Charlie Coyle scored goals andNiklas Backstrom ended with 29 saves.
"We have to get back to the details and doing the right thing. We have to bebetter with the puck and get a chance to play more in their end," Backstromsaid.
The Kings are sixth overall in the Western Conference with 43 points, just onepoint back of the fourth spot. They are set to play back-to-back games at homefollowing a 3-1-1 road trip that ended with Tuesday's 3-1 setback to thePhoenix Coyotes.
Justin Williams scored the only goal for the Kings and Jonathan Quicksurrendered three goals on 30 shots to take the loss.
"Not the way we wanted to finish, but we had some strong games, had somecharacter wins," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said of the road trip, whichincluded wins over Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas.
The Kings have split their four-game series with the Wild in each of theprevious three seasons. Minnesota took the first of three encounters thisseason with a 4-3 shootout win at home on March 30.