9:30 PM CST | 102.9 FM | FS-TN (HD)
No rest for the weary, as the Nashville Predators get right back to work tonight after a victory over the Anaheim Ducks, this time at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Kings. The matchup is an intriguing one - the Predators now sit in 6th place, just one point ahead of the Kings with 46. After a five game slide, they've won three in a row, whereas the Kings have lost four straight after winning three in a row.
Now that we've set the table for this one, follow after the jump for more.
Pekka Rinne started last night, and Barry Trotz indicated that The Giant would get the nod tonight.
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Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the call tonight. He is 3-0-0 with a .978 save percentage and .067 goals against average in his career against against Nashville.
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Not only do the Kings have some bona fide stars in Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, they can beat you a variety of ways with their forward depth. Three lines are more than capable of scoring, which will put the Predators' 3rd ranked defense to the test.
- Los Angeles, surprisingly, is mired in a four game skid, and that's never a good time to face a team. The Kings are capable of dangerous hockey, and are more than likely pretty angry. As is the case with all 2nd legs of a back to back, the Preds need to come out fast and get the first goal, or else it could be a long night.
- So much for a scoring slump, huh? After a stretch where the Predators only scored 4 goals in 4 games, they've now scored twelve in three games. Sure, four of them have been empty netters (including Shea Weber's mind boggling ice-length bank shot), but the quality chances are coming, and Patric Hornqvist is stepping up with 3 goals in 3 games.
- Though he hasn't scored, I've been pretty impressed with how Marek Svatos is fitting in to the lineup. He had several good chances last night, and is really adept at finding open places on the ice for scoring opportunities. It doesn't hurt, too, that he's the quickest player to pull the trigger on a shot that the Predators have had in quite some time.
- We mention the powerful, highlight-reel game of Shea Weber fairly often, but right now, it might be Ryan Suter who is playing the best hockey of anyone on the team (though Weber now leads the team in points with 21). Suter has a team-high 15 assists in just 28 games played, and you might as well wave the white flag right now if you're attempting to bypass him in the offensive zone. It ain't happening.
- For whatever reason, Nashville has been absolutely demolished by the Kings in their previous two meetings this year, getting outscored 10-1. In a word, you could say they're due. The Kings are slumping, the Preds streaking, and they can't let up.