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Kings will face Predators without Carter

by Adam Kimelman

PREDATORS (6-5-2) at KINGS (9-5-0)


Last 10: Nashville (5-3-2); Los Angeles (7-3-0)

Season series: It's the second of three meeting this season. On Oct. 17 Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings scored the only goal in a shootout, giving L.A. a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The teams will play a final time Dec. 28 in Nashville.

Big story: The Kings haven't been the most prolific offensive team, and now will have to make do without one of their top goal-scorers, Jeff Carter.

Team Scope:

Predators: Roman Josi is healthy and has joined Kevin Klein to create a solid second defense pair for the Nashville Predators.

Josi played Thursday for the first time since sustaining a concussion Oct. 4 against the Colorado Avalanche. He played 22:41 and had two shots on goal.

"He's one of our key pieces to our team," Klein told the Tennessean. "He skates really well. He has that experience under his belt now and he knows his game. He's used to playing a lot of minutes for us and it's nice he's back in the lineup and I get to play with him."

Josi started the season on the top pair opposite Shea Weber, but rookie Seth Jones has emerged as a strong partner for Weber, pushing Josi down to the second defense group.

However, coach Barry Trotz believes it just makes the defense group as a whole better.

"Both of them [Josi and Klein] understand what they both do," Trotz told the Tennessean. "Josi looks like he's excited to be back in the lineup and that's good for us. We need our pairings to be strong and I think it’s pretty diverse now."

Kings: The Kings entered the weekend 18th in the League in scoring and will be without Carter for as much as a week due to a lower-body injury. The Kings placed Carter on Injured Reserve Saturday, retroactive to Oct. 30. Carter is tied with Justin Williams for the team lead in goals with five.

"With Jeff, the guy going down, it's definitely a loss for us," Kopitar told "But that's the way it is and we're going to have to find a way to score goals and put up points and win hockey games at the end of the day. With him or without him we're going to have that, but it's certainly a loss."

Tyler Toffoli was called up to replace Carter. Toffoli has seven goals and five assists in 10 games with the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. He had five points in 10 regular-season NHL games last season, and two goals and four assists in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Center Linden Vey also was recalled.

Who's hot: Predators forward David Legwand has five points in the past three games. … Kings forward Mike Richards has five points in his past five games.

Injury report: The Predators continue to be without goalie Pekka Rinne, who is recovering from surgery to clean a bacterial infection in his left hip. … Aside from Carter's injury, the Kings are healthy.


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