With the trade deadline past, we can turn our full attention to the task at hand--making the playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings roll into town tonight to take on our Predators, and are seven points ahead of Nashville in the standings.
The Predators acquired Dustin Boyd yesterday, will he be in uniform tonight? If so, who will he bump out? The Kings acquired Jeff Halpern and former Blue Jacket Fredrik Modin, and we'll likely see their Los Angeles debuts tonight.
ROSTER UPDATE: According to beat writer John Glennon, Dustin Boyd will be joining the team tomorrow in Detroit thanks to some immigration issues.
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Special Note: tonight's game will not be shown on local television, but thanks to a free preview of the NHL Center Ice package, you may be able to find the Los Angeles feed of the game on your tube.
Nashville coming in
The Predators are coming off a crucial 4-3 win over hapless Edmonton, which saw former Oiler and new Pred Denis Grebeshkov register a goal and assist in his debut. Captain Jason Arnott scored the game winner, while the power play continued its hot ways with a goal from Shea Weber. Pekka Rinne wasn't especially sharp, but good enough to get it done and will likely get another start tonight. Young defensemen Cody Franson and Alexander Sulzer were assigned to Milwaukee yesterday.
Los Angeles coming in
As mentioned, the Kings made several acquisitions, and are fresh off blowing out the Dallas Stars. They have to be encouraged by the strong play of Olympians Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty, and are my dark horse to win the Western Conference. Nashville won the only other meeting this year 3-1. Swing by the new-ish Kings blog Jewels from the Crown for Kings talk, or check out the always hilarious Battle of California.
The Guys in Goal
|2009 - Pekka Rinne||41||2265||21||12||106||2.81||1074||968||.901||3|
For LA, no reason they wouldn't continue with US Olympian Jon Quick:
|2009 - Jonathan Quick||56||3362||36||17||140||2.50||1532||1392||.909||2|
Who knows if Dustin Boyd dresses, or if Wade Belak is suited up to square off against Ratis Ivanans, but here's how they looked against Edmonton:
For LA, accounting for the additions of Halpern and Modin (love that top line!):
I really like the atmosphere surrounding the Predators right now. Grebeshkov appears to be a steal, and the word out of Calgary is that Dustin Boyd is in a Matthew Lombardi/Rich Peverley type situation-- has all the skills, but never got the chance. Lets hope Barry Trotz gives him a shot in Music City.
As for the game, I look for Nashville's defense (do we have the top D in the league, or do we have the top D in the league??) to impose themselves, three pairs deep, on the LA offense. We can bring the pain and points from the back end, something that most other teams can't boast. Scoring the first goal will be key, and hopefully players like Joel Ward and Jordin Tootoo get back to the way they were playing pre-Olympic break. Predators 3, Kings 2.