In the NHL’s Western Conference the hunt for the playoffs has gotten tighter each night. The Predators sit in third place in the Central Division with 74 points, three points ahead of the St. Louis Blues in the second wild-card spot and six points ahead of the Kings who sit just outside of the playoff bubble. A regulation win for Los Angeles could inch them closer to the playoffs and tighten the gap Nashville has created.
The Predators will try to avoid losing a fourth consecutive game when they take to the ice on Thursday night. Their most recent loss came at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday when they lost 4-3 via the shootout.
The Kings, on the other hand, haven’t played a game since losing to the Vancouver Canucks on home ice on Saturday night. Los Angeles dug themselves a hole in the form of a 4-0 deficit through the game’s first period and a half and had their comeback bid run out of time before falling 4-3 in a game they probably should have won.
The two teams have met twice this season with Los Angeles coming out on the winning side of both occasions. Their most recent meeting came back in December when Peter Budaj pitched a 28-save shutout for Los Angeles in a 4-0 victory. A win for the Kings on Thursday night would give them a sweep of the season series.
Nashville Predators @ Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center – 7:30 PM PST Saturday, Mar. 9, 2017
Broadcast Channels: FS-W, FS-TN
2016-17 Season Series:
Oct. 27, 2016 – Kings 3 – Predators 2 (SO)
Dec. 22, 2016 – Kings 4 – Predators 0
Los Angeles Kings – 31-28-6 – 68 Points
Home Record: 17-12-1
Hot Players: Tanner Pearson
Key Injuries: None
Jarome Iginla– Anze Kopitar – Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Trevor Lewis – Adrian Kempe – Dustin Brown
Andy Andreoff – Nic Dowd – Kyle Clifford
Derek Forbort– Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Paul LaDue
Brayden McNabb – Alec Martinez
Nashville Predators – 32-24-10 – 74 Points
Away Record: 13-16-3
Hot Players: Filip Forsberg
Key Injuries: Ryan Ellis
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Mike Fisher – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Cody McLeod – Vernon Fiddler – Austin Watson
Mattias Ekholm – PK Subban
Roman Josi– Matt Irwin
Anthony Bitetto – Yannick Weber
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The team’s two goalies have a bit of a different history when facing each other’s team. Pekka Rinne is 11-7-4 when facing the Kings with a .896 save percentage, while Jonathan Quick has put together a 4-8-2 record and .894 save percentage when facing the Predators. Both goalies will be between the pipes on Thursday night.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Jeff Carter leads the Kings with 30 goals and 56 points but has hit a rough patch recently. He hasn’t scored a goal and has only one point in his last four games. However, the centerman has had success against the Predators in the past in the form of 16 goals and 25 points in 24 games against the Nashville. Some guys just play better against a certain team and Carter may break out of his slump against a familiar opponent.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Kings are coming off of a four-day break since their game against Vancouver. This wasn’t the league-mandated bye week for Los Angeles but they will look to come out of this break will better results. When they came out of the league’s required five-day bye week just a few weeks ago, they lost their first three games back. Yes, the team has been practicing during this break, unlike the bye week, but we’ll have to see if that changes the results.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Filip Forsberg has been an offensive force for the Predators this season. He has set the pace on his team with 27 goals and is tied for the team lead in points with 57. In his last five games, he has lit the lamp four times and recorded six points.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Nashville is 13-16-3 when playing on the road this season and the Kings have gone 2-4-0 in their last six home games. Something is going to have to budge when these two teams meet on Thursday night.
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.