Today marks the first of three meetings with the Predators this season, and Nashville’s only visit to STAPLES Center. The Kings will travel to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on February 20 and March 21. With four wins in their past five games, the Predators are playing the second of a four-game road trip, they’re coming off of a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. The Kings are returning home for one game before hitting the road again; they’re coming off of a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
AFTERNOON DELIGHT: The Kings will be playing the first of seven home matinees this afternoon. Last season, in eight day games played at STAPLES Center, the Kings posted a 5-2-1 record. Can the Kings continue their success under the sun with an afternoon win today against the Predators?
LINEUP: Due to the 1:00PM PST start, the Kings will not hold a morning skate. Jonathan Quick left the ice first during Friday’s practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, he is expected to start in goal. Jordan Weal skated as en extra with the third line, it is unclear what his status is for Saturday afternoon.
PEARSON – KOPITAR – BROWN
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
GABORIK – SHORE – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – MCBAIN
GREENE LIGHT?: Defenseman Matt Greene has missed the last six games due to an undisclosed upper-body injury. During Friday’s practice, though, he participated fully, including some drills that included physical contact. “A few days ago I started to feel better and I’m just getting stronger now and I’m trying to get ready to be at 100-percent pretty soon here, hopfully,” Greene told Jon Rosen following Friday’s skate.
PEKKA FOR PREDS?: With Nasvhille playing the first of a back-to-back set this afternoon, it is unclear whether or not the Kings will face goaltender Pekka Rinne, who’s had an outstanding start to his season. Rinne has started eight of Nashville’s nine games thus far, tied for second in the NHL in wins (6), and second in the league with a 1.74 GAA. Rinne’s posted a 6-1-1 record, carrying along a .934 SV%.
DON’T FALL PREY: The Kings were winless in three games against the Predators last season, going 0-1-2, losing once in overtime and once in a shootout. All three of the Kings’ losses to the Predators in 2014-’15 were by one goal. The Kings, though, had arguably their best comeback of the 2014-'15 season against Nashville on January 3, 2015, when they scored three goals in 1:27 minutes to tie the score with 34 seconds to play - only to surrender the game-winner 18 seconds into overtime.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 12:30PM on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 1:00. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the game over the radio airwaves at AM 790 KABC.