NASHVILLE – The Los Angeles Kings will try to capture an elusive road victory Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Los Angeles is looking for its second road victory of the season. The defending Stanley Cup champions are 1-4-3 on the road and 10-2-1 at Staples Center.
"We want to have a good start," Kings forward Tanner Pearson said. "We've got to play our game. I think we've gotten away from it a little bit where we're not playing our full game and playing the full 60 minutes, so if we put in one of those we stand a good chance."
The Kings have been a good road team the past few seasons, but it hasn't clicked for them so far this season. Los Angeles has outscored teams 36-19 on home ice but has been outscored 28-20 on the road. The players believe a stronger defensive effort on the road will lead to more offense.
"I think when everything is working out, we're playing our game and are strong in the defensive zone, that translates to the offensive zone and creating chances," Pearson said.
The Kings will play against a Predators team that is 7-1-1 on home ice, including three straight wins. Nashville's top line of Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and James Neal has the attention of the Kings heading into the game Tuesday.
"They can score goals," Pearson said. "They've got a lot of high-end goal scorers on that team so we've got to be aware of who is on the ice at what times and shut them down."
Nashville is preparing for a physical battle against Los Angeles. The Kings' big, mobile roster will be an interesting matchup for the Predators, who have played very physical games against teams like the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
"It's going to be a really tough game," Forsberg said. "Obviously, they're the defending Stanley Cup champions and they've been playing great this year too so it's going to be a tough challenge. They're a big, physical team so we have to get ready."
Forsberg and Pearson are tied for the lead in goals among rookies with nine. Forsberg enjoys playing against other younger players and uses it as a barometer for his own game.
"There's a bunch of guys that I've been playing against growing up on the national teams and stuff in this League," Forsberg said. "It's just great to be able to play against them on this type of level, too."
Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne has won seven of his past eight games and has been one of the best goalies in the League. Los Angeles will try to create traffic in front of Rinne to throw him off rhythm.
"Get lots of shots on him and try to create as much traffic as possible," Pearson said. "Try to take his eyes away from the puck and try to capitalize on second and third chances."
Here are the projected lineups:
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Trevor Lewis
Dwight King – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dustin Brown – Jarret Stoll – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards – Tanner Pearson
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Brayden McNabb – Matt Greene
Robyn Regehr – Jamie McBain
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Jordan Nolan
Injured: Alec Martinez (finger)
Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – James Neal
Matt Cullen – Derek Roy – Olli Jokinen
Colin Wilson – Calle Jarnkrok – Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Taylor Beck
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Anton Volchenkov – Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Scratched: Gabriel Bourque, Victor Bartley
Injured: Mike Fisher (ruptured Achilles tendon), Viktor Stalberg (lower body)
Status report: It was an optional morning skate for the Kings. … Jones was the first goaltender off the ice so it looks like he will get the start. … The Predators had the same lines as the last game in the morning skate. … Fisher participated in morning skate.
Who's hot: Williams scored two goals against Dallas on Saturday and has five points in his past four games. … Rinne has won seven of his past eight games and is tied for the League lead with 13 wins.