Los Angeles Kings @ Nashville Predators: Game Day Preview

Wise move by one Mr. Kopitar.

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7:00 PM CST | 102.9 FM | Center Ice Only

The Nashville Predators look to extend their 5 game winning streak tonight against an opponent a bit more formidable than the New Jersey Devils - the Los Angeles Kings, who are five points behind the Preds in the Western Conference.

After the jump, a look at team lineups and a few thoughts in advance of a Saturday night in Smashville.

Lineups

Nashville

Anders Lindback played last night, Pekka Rinne made the trip, but dressed as the backup. I have literally no idea who starts in goal tonight.

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO

2010 - Anders Lindback

2010 - Pekka Rinne

2010 - Mark Dekanich (AHL)

14

19

17

749

1086

1015

8

8

10

1

7

3

27

43

29

2.16

2.38

1.71

387

527

360

484

459

.930

.918

.941

2

3

3

These, presumably, will remain the same as last night, with Matthew Lombardi, David Legwand, Patric Hornqvist, and Cody Franson all out of the lineup:

Forwards
Sullivan (A) - O'Reilly - Wilson
Kostitsyn - Goc - Erat
Tootoo - Smithson - Ward
Dumont - Spaling - Begin
Defense
 Suter (A) - Weber (C)
Klein - Bouillon
Sulzer - O'Brien

Los Angeles

The Kings' 2nd year man gets the call tonight ahead of Jonathan Quick. Those are some...rough numbers, to say the least.

Jonathan Bernier

#45 / Goalie / Los Angeles Kings

5-11

186

Aug 07, 1988

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Jonathan Bernier 7 419 2 5 23 3.29 208 185 .889 0

The Kings have some serious depth up front with the additions of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Marco Sturm, but are missing Matt Greene, Brad Richardson, and Scott Parse.

Forwards
Brown (C) - Kopitar (A) - Williams
Smyth - Stoll - Sturm
Ponikarovsky - Handzus - Simmonds
Clifford - Lewis - Moller
Defense
Scuderi - Doughty
Mitchell - Johnson
Martinez - Drewiske

Thoughts

  • If the Preds get pinned in their own zone for an extended period of time tonight like they did against New Jersey, nothing good will come of it. The Kings will make them pay, and the style of hockey Nashville typically employs is best suited to play with a lead instead of from behind.
  • Between Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, and Michal Handzus, LA has some solid performers on the faceoff dot, where the Predators have struggled of late. As we saw in the loss to Atlanta, even one crucial faceoff loss can impact the game. Jerred Smithson and Marcel Goc are typically sound, but Cal O`Reilly and Nick Spaling have to step up.
  • Forget everything else, the real question about tonight's game is whether or not Sergei Kostitsyn can keep his 8-game point streak rolling, it's the longest since Ryan Suter's 8 in March of 2009 (the franchise record is 16, set by J.P. Dumont in the 2007-8 season). His play of late has helped remove any doubt as to Kostitsyn's capabilities to help this team.
  • Yep, I'm basically mailing in today's preview. That said, tonight's game isn't on local TV and the Predators are the hottest team in the NHL. You have no excuse for not taking advantage of discount Preds tickets and getting yourself down to the Bridge for some NHL hockey.
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