KINGS (11-6-4) at PREDATORS (13-5-2)
5:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
SEE TENNESSEE: This is the first of three meetings with the Nashville Predators this season, and the only time the Kings will pay a visit to Bridgestone Arena. The Predators will come to STAPLES Center for the final two games of the season series on January 3 and March 14. Nashville is coming off of a 3-2 SO win over the Florida Panthers Saturday night, and have won three of their previous four contests. Tonight marks the second game of the Kings’ three-game road trip, and the second of Nashville’s three-game home stand.
WON AND ONE: The Kings have only won one game away from Los Angeles this season, and their road struggles continued Thursday night when they fell 5-4 to the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, dropping their record away from STAPLES Center to 1-4-3. The Kings will have a tough task tonight in Nashville; the Predators chalking up an impressive 7-1-1 record on home ice this season at Bridgestone Arena.
CALLING ON MARTIN: Martin Jones, who left the ice first during today’s morning skate at Bridgestone Arena, is expected to get the start in goal tonight – his fourth of the season. Due to the Kings playing back-to-back games, it’s no surprise to see Darryl Sutter call upon Jones. In his three starts, Jones is 1-2-0 making 68 saves on 74 shots faced. Jones comes into the night with a .928 SV% and a 1.83 GAA.
PECK AT PEKKE: Nashville’s goaltending has been hot this season thanks to the play of Pekka Rinne. Rinne enters tonight’s contest tied with Vancouver’s Ryan Miller for the league lead in wins with 13. Rinne’s overall record is 13-3-1. The Predators’ goaltender is also second in the league with a 1.92 GAA, and third in the league with a .930 SV%. Rinne is 7-6-1 all-time against the Kings, dating back to March of 2009.
LINEUP NOTES: Defenseman Alec Martinez practiced with the Kings yesterday, albeit in a red injury jersey, and skated with the team this morning prior to tonight’s game. “It’s getting better everyday,” Darryl Sutter said regarding Martinez’s finger injury. “These things have just got to heal.” Martinez has missed the past four games due to injury, and will be out again tonight. Jordan Nolan, who stayed on the ice for extra work following today’s morning skate, is expected to be a healthy scratch alongside Andy Andreoff.
MILESTONES, STREAKS: Dustin Brown comes into the night just one goal shy of 200 for his NHL career; Mike Richards is two assists shy for 300 in his career. Justin Williams, with two goals Saturday night, is now riding a four-game point streak (2G, 3A). Jarret Stoll has five points (2G, 3A) in the last four games.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In three games against the Predators last season, the Kings went 1-2-0, their only win coming in a shootout in the teams’ first meeting of the season last year on October 17. Slava Voynov scored the Kings’ only regulation goal in their 2-1 win, Anze Kopitar potted the game-deciding goal in the third round of the shootout. Jonathan Quick made 34 saves. The Kings are 2-3-0 at Bridgestone Arena dating back to the 2011-’12 campaign.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 4:30 on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from Bridgestone Arena for puck drop at 5:00PM PT.