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Kings-Predators Preview @NHL
Kings-Predators Preview

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (12-5-1) at Nashville Predators (11-2-3).

TIME: Tuesday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Los Angeles Kings are alone atop the Pacific Division with one of the league's best records. They also haven't lost to the Nashville Predators in almost three years.

The Kings look to extend a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Predators when the teams meet at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Los Angeles has outscored Nashville 19-5 in compiling a 6-0-1 record in the series since its last loss on Dec. 5, 2002. The Kings are 16-5-4 all-time against the Predators.

In the last meeting on Nov. 5, the Kings won 3-2 on a shootout goal by Jeremy Roenick.

"Everybody that was in this building got treated to an unbelievable hockey game and had an unbelievable afternoon, with a shootout to boot," Roenick said. "That's what hockey's all about. Whoever saw their first game today is going to be addicted."

Craig Conroy and Alexander Frolov each had hat tricks as the Kings rolled to 8-2 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. Frolov, who had a natural hat trick, has five goals in his last three games while Conroy has goals in each of his last four contests with six total in that span.

"I'd probably live a few years longer if we had more of them," Kings coach Andy Murray said of the lopsided win. "We knew it was imperative to get off to a good start and we certainly had some jump in our step."

With 12 victories, the Kings, winners of three of four, trail only Ottawa (15) and Detroit (15).

The Predators have won three straight since losing in the shootout to the Kings. They have been streaky all season, starting with eight consecutive wins, then losing five in a row before their current three-game win streak.

Scott Hartnell scored twice in the second period and Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves in Nashville's 3-1 victory over league-worst St. Louis on Saturday.

"We expect to have a battle against St. Louis, but now without (longtime Blues captain Chris) Pronger and with (Keith) Tkachuk out of the lineup, it helps," Hartnell said. "We think we should win every night. We did a good job tonight putting the pressure on."

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen has two goals and four assists during the three-game streak, while Hartnell has three goals and two assists in that span. All of Hartnell's 13 points this season have come in Predators' wins.

"Most of (Hartnell's) goals are from getting to the net," Predators coach Barry Trotz. "He has speed and good hands for a big man. He's been clutch for us."

STANDINGS (through Nov. 14): Kings - 25 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Predators - 25 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Frolov, 11 goals; Pavol Demitra, 15 assists; Conroy and Pavol Demitra, 23 points; Sean Avery, 55 PIM. Predators - Steve Sullivan, 8 goals; Paul Kariya, 11 assists; Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya, 16 points; Jeremy Stevenson, 50 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 14): Kings - Power play: 16.3 percent (19 for 116), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.6 percent (97 for 112), 4th. Predators - Power play: 17.6 percent (18 for 102), tied for 15th. Penalty killing: 85.4 percent (94 for 110), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Mathieu Garon (4-3-0, 0 SO, 2.92); Jason LaBarbera (8-2-1, 2.44 GAA). Predators - Vokoun (10-2-2, 2.47); Chris Mason (1-0-1, 3.31).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 5; Kings, 3-2, (SO). At Los Angeles, Conroy and Tom Kostopoulos scored third-period goals to help the Kings erase a 2-0 deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 5-2-1 on the road; Predators - 8-1-0 at home.

Associated Press
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