Tonight’s match up between the L.A. Kings and the Nashville Predators is one Preds fans have had marked on their calendar since saying good-bye to a beloved Nashville forward in the offseason. Tonight Viktor Arvidsson will skate at Bridgestone Arena for the visiting team, but the Predators will have more than just fond memories to handle once the puck drops.
The L.A. Kings
Overview: The Kings come to Bridgestone Arena with a 1-1-0 start to their season, including a definitive 6-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights and a close loss to the Minnesota Wild. Although it is still early in the season, the Kings have displayed offensive success and special teams skills that could give the Predators all they can handle for sixty minutes.
Who To Watch: While many at Bridgestone will be watching Arvidsson on the top line, Arvi is likely to be flanked by Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Kopitar opened his season with a hat trick against the Golden Knights and earned 7 points in his first two outings of the season. Kopitar is likely to add to that total if Nashville can’t find a way to contain him defensively. Brown, along with Alex Iafallo, Vladamir Tkachev and Arvidsson, can all play an effective low-to-high game that led to scoring chances against Vegas and Minnesota. Defender Drew Doughty has played a strong two way game, collecting 6 points in two games. Calvin Peterson and Jonathan Quick have each started in net for the Kings in the first two games and at this point in the season appear to be a “1A, 1B” goalie tandem.
How They Could Win: An area the Kings could capitalize on is the power play. The Kings have been able to convert three of their six power play opportunities thus far. Their ability to establish possession and move the puck quickly around the offensive zone on the man advantage has opened up successful shooting lanes.
Who To Watch: The top line Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Johansen, along with the “Herd” line (Colton Sissons, Tanner Jeannot, and Yakov Trenin), will need to be prolific offensively if the Predators hope to come away with two points tonight. Mikael Granlund has arguably been the best player on the ice for the Preds, and if he can have another strong game, it will bode much better for the Predators.
There have been some interesting roster shifts over the last twenty-four hours for the Predators. Fans are likely to see the return of Philip Tomasino to the lineup with the possible addition of Tommy Novak, who was recalled from Milwaukee on Monday. Novak, a scoring threat in the AHL for the Admirals, had a strong preseason camp and could make his NHL debut at Bridgestone tonight.
Head Coach John Hynes still doesn’t appear to be 100% settled on the defensive pairs yet, relying heavily on a five-defender rotation through half of the game against Carolina. Juuse Saros will be in net for the Predators with Connor Ingram available as backup. (David Rittich is in COVID protocol.)
How They Could Win: The Predators will need to play disciplined hockey to avoid the potent Kings power play and show more offensive threat on any man advantage they are gifted. Improved zone entries and exits, winning puck battles at the boards, and containing passing and shooting lanes will be important keys to the Predators winning their first game of the season. Get Granlund going and a hot Herd line and the Predators could overwhelm the Kings defense.
How To Watch
The game is set to begin at 7:00 PM CST. You can watch on Bally Sports Southeast and Bally Sports West and listen on 102.5 The Game.