Kings face back-to-back games in Detroit, Nashville

Following a run-and-gun victory in Minnesota, the Kings will play their first back-to-back set of the season on Monday and Tuesday.

They’ll compete in Detroit and then Nashville, two cities that remain linked by the auto industry, which once caused Red Wings-Predators games to be de facto Wings home games early in Nashville’s franchise history.

Momentum can be elusive early in the season with adjustments galore around the NHL, but the Kings hope to generate some across contests, much as they did in-game during their raucous 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

The Kings held six different one-goal leads but never trailed. Goalie Cal Petersen dinged up his statistics but got the win in what he said was a novel game for him and one he wouldn’t care to repeat.

For winger Kevin Fiala, it was a homecoming and a triumphant one. He registered his first three points as a King in the building where he plied his trade for more than three seasons.

“It was a good first step in our direction and for myself as well, and now we just have to build from it,” Fiala said.

Fiala and linemates Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar were among the seven Kings to post multi-point nights, including winger Gabe Vilardi’s second such effort of the campaign.

Despite their offensive outburst, a welcome change from the two-goal average they posted in their first two matches, penalty trouble continued to plague the Kings. They were shorthanded six times and only killed half of those penalties. Coach Todd McLellan described that as “a terrible recipe for success.”

The Kings have been the second most penalized team in the league this season. They trail only the Chicago Blackhawks on a per-game basis and only Nashville in total penalty minutes, though the Predators have played an additional game and accumulated one more fighting major than the Kings. The Kings have typically been strong at drawing penalties, but this year their negative-three differential is the third worst league-wide.

Monday’s matchup pits the Kings against a resurgent franchise, the Red Wings. They followed a staggering 25 straight postseason appearances, which also encompassed four Stanley Cups and six conference crowns, with six straight non-playoff efforts.

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Captain turned executive Steve Yzerman has positioned the team effectively with not one but two short-list Calder Trophy candidates from last season, winner Moritz Seider and fourth-place finisher Lucas Raymond.

More reinforcements are on the way, free agents like Michigan-born Andrew Copp have already arrived and Yzerman has also increased the team’s depth in goal. Detroit got a win from Alex Nedeljkovic and a shutout from Ville Husso across their first two games, which they won by an aggregate score of 8-2. Team captain Dylan Larkin leads the club with four points.

For Nashville’s part, it opened the season in Prague for the NHL’s Global Series, which saw it split two matchups with the San Jose Sharks. Stateside, the Predators already lost a home-and-home series with Central Division rival Dallas, and by a lopsided 9-2 cumulative margin.

Winger Nino Niederreiter was signed as a free agent from the Carolina Hurricanes and has scored four goals in as many games. His Swiss countryman, Roman Josi, is off to an uncharacteristically unproductive start with a solitary point for the team captain and 2020’s Norris Trophy winner.

Kings at Detroit

When: 4 p.m. Monday

Where: Little Caesars Arena

TV/Radio: Bally Sports West/IHeartRadio

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