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Kings' final meeting with Predators a possible playoff precursor

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


NASHVILLE FOR A NIGHT: Tonight marks the third and final meeting against the Predators this season and the Kings’ second of two visits to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The Predators are playing the first of a four-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday night. The Kings are playing the first of a three-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at Bridgestone Arena in anticipation of tonight’s game. Kris Versteeg, who left Saturday’s game after taking a shot off the foot, did not partake, and has been deemed “day-to-day”. Andy Andreoff will return to the lineup for the first time since March 5. Jamie McBain is expected to be the team’s lone healthy scratch. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and will start in net.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – TOFFOLI
CLIFFORD – CARTER – BROWN
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
KING – SHORE – ANDREOFF
(VERSTEEG)

DEFENSEMEN

SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – SCHENN
(MCBAIN)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings have come out with overtime wins in their two previous meetings with the Predators this season; the first a 4-3 OT win on October 31 at STAPLES Center, the most recent a 2-1 OT victory on February 20 at Bridgestone Arena. Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson have the Kings’ overtime-winning goals against the Predators this season. Jake Muzzin (1G, 2A) leads all Kings players in points scored against Nashville with three. Jonathan Quick has faced 34 shots in each meeting against the Predators, stopping a combined 64 of 68.

COMING IN HOT: The Predators have earned points in 16 of their last 18 games (11-2-5), and are coming off just their second regulation loss during that span. Though they’re on a pretty favorable path as the postseason nears, they continue to be haunted by overtime losses, and have now totaled 13 on the season, the second-highest mark in the NHL behind only Carolina’s 14. The Predators are 4-0-3 in their last seven games at home, not having lost in regulation at Bridgestone Arena since February 9.

PLAYOFF PRECURSOR?: If the regular season were to end today, the Kings would match up with the Predators in the first round of the postseason. With only 11 games remaining on the schedule, there’s a valid possibility that tonight’s game could be a preview of what’s to come in mid-April. “We know that this is a potential match-up and obviously they do too, so both teams are going to be looking to getting a big W tonight and show the other team how good they really can play,” said Doughty.

FOOTNOTE: Kris Versteeg will miss his first game of the season tonight after taking a Dennis Seidenberg shot to his left foot on Saturday, he is deemed “day-to-day”. In a total of 71 games with Carolina and the Kings, Versteeg has 49 points (13G, 36A). In eight games with the Kings, he’s registered three points (2G, 1A).

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 4:30 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from Bridgestone Arena for puck drop just after 5:00. You can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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