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Kings @ Predators Preview: Back for more already?

It's crunch time!
It's crunch time!

Fresh off a 2-1 defeat at Bridgestone Arena last week, the Los Angeles Kings are coming back for another round with the Predators tonight in Nashville (7:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN). The Preds all-time record against L.A. is 22-22-3-3, so tonight they can finally creep above the .500 mark in terms of points earned against the Kings.

While reading, listen in as Tom Callahan joined 102.5 The Game's "Sports Revolution" yesterday afternoon, and helped set up this game:

Tom Callahan on 1025 The Game 2012-03-05 (mp3)

And now, on to the rest of the preview!

Find tickets to this game starting at $14 with our partners at TiqIQ!

Tale Of The Tape

Los Angeles (30-23-12) at Nashville (38-20-7)
L.A Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. L.A Defense
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
L.A Offense 1.8 (30th) 29.8 (10th) 6.1 (30th) 1.9 (3rd) 27.0 (5th) 930 (3rd) L.A Defense
NSH Defense 2.2 (6th) 30.9 (27th) 928 (4th) 2.4 (11th) 26.7 (28th) 9.0 (6th) NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
L.A 5-on-4 4.9 (25th) 46.2 (24th) 10.6 (26th) 3.9 (3rd) 50.5 (17th) 922 (1st) L.A 4-on-5
NSH 4-on-5 6.6 (20th) 53.8 (23rd) 877 (16th) 7.5 (1st) 48.5 (16th) 15.4 (2nd) NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

This is an interesting matchup, as the Kings play a very low-scoring type of game in 5-on-5, and boast a strong penalty kill, as well. Goals will be hard to come by...

Los Angeles Kings

L.A. has been a classic case of the whole coming up less than the sum of the parts. Despite boasting some exciting talent up front, the Kings have come up dry in the goal-scoring department. The Kings made perhaps the deepest change to a team's roster over the last month, by trading defenseman Jack Johnson to Columbus for Jeff Carter, reuniting him with his running mate from Philadelphia, Mike Richards. Can he help bring the firepower that Los Angeles has been lacking so far?

Jeff Carter

#77 / Center / Los Angeles Kings



Jan 01, 1985

2011 - Jeff Carter 43 17 10 27 -10 14 9 0 2 143 11.9

It was a bold move to swap out a prominent young blueliner like Johnson for a talented center like Carter (who brings a bit of baggage along with his long, long-term contract), but give credit to the Kings for making such a move even while in competition for a playoff spot. Clearly this team expected better things this season, and wasn't satisfied to just hope that perhaps they might make the post-season.

Los Angeles KingsLast 5 Games

Anaheim Sat 03/03 W 4 - 2
@ Minnesota Tue 02/28 W 4 - 0
@ Nashville Mon 02/27 L 1 - 2
Chicago Sat 02/25 W 4 - 0
@ Colorado Wed 02/22 L 1 - 4

Nashville Predators

The Predators can get things rolling this week as they seek to integrate their three new teammates into the lineup - sometimes it can take a few games before the best combinations can be determined. Home-ice advantage will help Barry Trotz deploy players how he sees fit, so it will be interesting to see what kinds of opportunities guys like Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad get.

Kevin Klein is still out of the lineup for the time being, so it looks like perhaps the second D-pairing will continue to be Hal Gill and Roman Josi. I wonder, however, whether that might change once Klein returns.

If you're looking for a hot hand to face Los Angeles, the Kostitsyn brothers have both played at a point-per-game paces against them. Andrei has 4 goals and 2 assists in 6 games, and Sergei has a goal & 6 assists in 7 against the Kings.

The guy who has been especially hot lately has been Pekka Rinne, however, who is doing his best to work his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation once again. Beating Jonathan Quick head-to-head (again) would certainly help. Given the Western Conference opponent and lack of a back-to-back situation, it's a good guess that he'll start.

Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators



Nov 03, 1982

2011 - Pekka Rinne 58 3360 36 13 7 129 2.30 1767 1638 .927 4

Can Pekka, who is 5-0-1 in his last six, keep the good times rolling against a Kings team which will be desperate for a win? We'll find out this evening...