KINGS (4-3-0) at PREDATORS (3-3-0)
TV: FS-W, FS-TN
Season series: The first of three season meetings. The Nashville Predators took two of three from the Los Angeles Kings in 2012-13, including a 3-0 victory on Feb. 7 in the lone meeting at Bridgestone Arena.
Big story: After two road losses to start the season, Nashville is 3-1-0 on a five-game homestand that wraps up Thursday against Los Angeles. The Predators will look to move above .500 for the first time this season against the Kings, who are finishing off a four-game road trip through the Southeast.
Kings: Cross-continent road trips are never easy, but until Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, one might have thought Los Angeles had found a formula for success. The Kings ground out a 2-1 shootout victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Sunday afternoon, before hopping across the state to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Against Tampa Bay, things got hairy almost immediately as Los Angeles conceded a goal to Ryan Malone just 19 seconds into the game. Goalie Jonathan Quick was pulled after conceding three goals on 17 shots. Despite controlling much of the play and outshooting the Lightning 31-25, the Kings' three-game winning streak ended abruptly with a 5-1 defeat.
So, how do the Kings bounce back against the Predators, a team looking to defend home ice much like the Lightning successfully did?
"We just get on a plane and go there tonight and be ready to play," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's not that hard, is it?"
Predators: It may be harder than Sutter and the Kings think. Since the 2005-06 season, only three teams have won more games at home than the Predators. Each of Nashville's three victories during the homestand has come by one goal.
On Tuesday against the Florida Panthers, the Predators took an early lead and held on for a 4-3 victory. Coach Barry Trotz would have preferred an easier win but considered it a learning experience for his young club.
"It was a frustrating game," Trotz said. "I would probably say that game we were probably the most sloppy we've been in all the games this year; not real detailed, making poor judgment errors all over the ice, just not real sharp tonight. But we found a way to win and that's part of learning to win."
Who’s hot: Predators captain Shea Weber scored his first goal and finished with a plus rating for the first time in 2013-14 against Florida. He has three points over his last two games.
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