Kings-Wild Preview with Andrew Brunette

Forward Andrew Brunette has 30 points (8g, 22a) in 41 career games vs. the Los Angeles Kings. He also has 18 points in 18 games at Staples Center.

After a three year run with the Colorado Avalanche (2005-08), he’s now in the third year of his second tour of duty for the Minnesota Wild. A few weeks from now he’ll be playing in his 1,000 NHL game. In the interview below he helps us preview tonight’s Kings-Wild game…

MM: You guys are having an up and down season. Yet, you had a big win the other night in Phoenix. What type of momentum does that give you coming into the game against the Kings?

AB: We’ve had a hard time grabbing a hold of momentum and carrying it through. So, we’ll find out. Hopefully, we can continue doing what we’ve been doing the last three or four games and get a big win.

MM: In Colorado a game vs. LA probably meant more than it does to the Wild, from a rivalry perspective. Having been part of those games, does this match-up mean anything to you personally?

AB: Well, they’re all big – especially this year, especially in the western Conference that’s extremely tight. It probably will be all year too. So, every point is crucial. It’s always fun to play LA though. Throughout my career I’ve always enjoyed playing here.

MM: Jose Theodore is set to be the starting goaltender. Does the team play differently in front of him, compared to Niklas Backstrom?

AB: No. I think both of them have been outstanding for us this year. They’re a big reason we’re at or a little over .500. It doesn’t matter who’s in net. We believe we have a good chance at winning.

MM: Give us a couple keys to the game. Besides the two big guns – Kopitar and Doughty – who do you key in on and try to shut down?

AB: Well, they’re a deep team. They come at you with basically all four lines. They have the ability to score. They have real good team speed. You always have to watch out for Ryan Smyth around the net. Dustin Brown will be hitting, so you have to be aware of him on the ice. They have a real good team and we have to be ready.

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It’s worth noting that Brunette is making only $2.3 million and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.  Minnesota is not expected to make the playoffs this season.  He’s missed less than five games total over the last five years and puts in 20+ goals consistently.  He’s a left winger.

Does that stir up any thoughts?

[note: Additional comments from Wild players linked below.]

The Mayor
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Kings-Wild Preview with Patrick O’Sullivan – his thoughts on facing his former team

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