Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Los Angeles Kings 1/6/22

The West Coast road trip continues.

The Nashville Predators are back for another late one tonight as they take on the Los Angeles Kings. Their previous outing featured them building a lead and managing to hold it, though the last few minutes were a little tense, against the Pacific-leading Vegas Golden Knights; now they’re facing an opponent with more to prove as they try to keep their own spot in the Central.

The Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg continues to dazzle; his two goals Tuesday night just built his lead in the team goal-scoring race, where he has 17 to Matt Duchene’s 13. With fewer games played (25) than any of the other regulars, Forsberg is still tied for fourth in overall scoring with 27 points. The man is going to get paid; it is beyond the scope of this preview to speculate by whom.

Mikael Granlund has now tied Roman Josi for team points lead, adding his team-leading 25th assist of the season on Tuesday to bring him up to 30 points total. Matt Duchene stands at 29, while Ryan Johansen shares Forsberg’s 27. Juuse Saros’s season sv% of .927 is more than respectable; he’s also been one of the league’s best goalies at preventing expected goals overall.

As far as we know, Dante Fabbro and Tommy Novak are still unavailable, which means we’ll likely see Philippe Myers on defense again.

The Los Angeles Kings

The Kings enter tonight’s game also on a two-game winning streak, coming off a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. They’re in the middle of the Pacific and clawing for position, getting big contributions from Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick—what year is this, again?

I’ve been a Quick skeptic for a while, but this season at 5v5 he’s allowed 28 goals on about 45 xG; he’s had one of the hardest workloads in the league and he’s excelled—though less so on special teams. Not bad at all for a 36-year-old. This game has real potential to turn into a goaltending duel.

The Kings have had poor shooting luck overall to go with their great goaltending. Kopitar is the only player on the team with more than 20 points (he has 29, and a team-leading 20 assists); Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe are tied at 20 points total, with Kempe having the goal lead with 14. Former Pred Viktor Arvidsson is close behind with 18 points; Drew Doughty and Matt Roy are the leading defensive scorers.

On special teams, the Kings’ power play has also been unlucky, while their penalty kill just hasn’t been great. Quick has looked most human shorthanded; getting some time on the power play would be nice for the Preds if they can manage it, although the Kings play a much lower-penalty style than the Preds do (smart, if both your special teams are a weakness).

How to Watch

The game starts at 9:30 Central (ouch) and will air on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.

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