After a triumphant win over the Anaheim Ducks, the Nashville Predators move over (and up) to take on the Los Angeles Kings.
LA is rebounding from their recent lottery spot to sit second in the Pacific this year. The Calgary Flames are excellent, but there’s been a sharp drop-off in overall quality after them, and the Kings have been a beneficiary of their competition. They do have talented young players and a good prospect pool, but they haven’t gotten major contributions out of the youth they have.
It’s been a rough injury season for the Kings. Former Preds fan-favorite Viktor Arvidsson, who’s been on injured reserve since March 6th, is tied for second on the team in points, with 38, and has been their best driver of offense. Drew Doughty, who’s been okay defensively and has racked up the points (31 in 39 games), is also injured and hasn’t played since March 10th.
Anze Kopitar leads the team in points with 52 and assists with 36. Trevor Moore, tied with Arvidsson at 38 points, is also behind just Kopitar in assists, with 27. Adrian Kempe and Phillip Danault, just behind them at 37 points each, are first and second in goals with 26 and 19 respectively. (Arvidsson’s 18 come third.)
The Kings have been ice-cold in terms of finishing luck this season. Their offense is good, but the number of goals they’ve actually scored with it has not been good—their struggles have been particularly noteworthy on a de-fanged power play that’s been getting to the front of the net with nothing to consistently show for it.
What they have done is combined a good 5v5 defense with good goaltending. 36-year-old Jonathan Quick is having another very good season at 5v5, though he’s struggled enough when either team has a power play that it’s brought his season sv% down to a .908. The goals he’s allowed with his own team shorthanded make sense; the Kings’ penalty kill has allowed a lot of quality chances.
How to Watch
The game starts at 9:30 PM Central and airs on ESPN+. You can also listen to the call on 102.5 The Game, or get some sleep and catch up here tomorrow with our recap.