PREDATORS (42-20-7) at KINGS (33-21-13)
7:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO; AM 790 KABC
PREDATORS IN LA: Tonight marks the third and final meeting with the Predators this season; the Kings have dropped the previous two meetings against Nashville, 4-3 in a SO on November 25 at Bridgestone Arena, and 7-6 in OT on January 3 at STAPLES Center. The Predators are playing the third of their four-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The Kings are beginning a two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
TWO POINTS: The Kings have come away with a point in each of their two meetings with the Predators this season, dropping one game in a shootout, and another in overtime. The Kings come into the night with the third-most OT losses in the NHL this season with 13. The Predators have lost seven of their last eight games (1-7-0), their only win in that span coming in a 2-1 OT victory over the Arizona Coyotes on March 9. Nashville has allowed the first goal in 12 of their last 13 games.
LINEUP NOTES: Per Jon Rosen, who attended the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo, Jarret Stoll is expected to sit out tonight’s game due to an undisclosed upper-body injury. Andy Andreoff is expected to replace Stoll’s spot in the lineup; he skated alongside Dustin Brown and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line this morning. Alec Martinez skate with the team, but is not expected to play. Tanner Pearson took the ice following the Kings’ morning skate. Jonathan Quick is expected to start in net.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – LEWIS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
CLIFFORD – SHORE – WILLIAMS
BROWN – ANDREOFF - NOLAN
REGEHR – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – GREENE
MCNABB – SEKERA
A NEW KOPITAR: Anze Kopitar and his wife Ines welcomed their first baby, Neža, at 12:38 AM Saturday morning. Kopitar is expected to play tonight.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Coming into the night, the Kings sit in the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card playoff spot with 79 points, but are just one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets. The Kings are two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the top wild-card spot, one point behind the Vancouver Canucks for third-place in the Pacific Division, and two points behind the Calgary Flames for second. Can the Kings keep pace in the playoff race with a win tonight?
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Predators’ previous visit to STAPLES Center on January 3, the Kings fell 7-6 in OT. Down 6-3 with two minutes remaining in regulation, the Kings scored three goals in a 1:27 span to extend the game to overtime. Roman Josi netted the game-winning goal for Nashville 18 seconds in OT. Anze Kopitar (3A) and Alec Martinez (1G, 2A) led Kings players in scoring.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 6:30PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:00PM PT.