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Predators return home to host Kings

by Brian Hunter

KINGS (3-3-2) at PREDATORS (4-2-3)

TV: FS-West, FS-Tennessee

Season series: Second of three meetings. Nashville picked up a key two points in Los Angeles during its lengthy seven-game road trip, as Sergei Kostitsyn provided the decisive goal in the eighth round of the shootout for a 2-1 victory. Brandon Yip and Dustin Brown traded first-period scores in regulation.

Big story: Nashville returns home to Bridgestone Arena having found a way to survive its early-season trek while remaining right in the thick of the typically competitive Central Division. The Predators dropped three of the first four and found themselves at 1-2-3 on the season, but rebounded to capture three straight against top-rate opposition in Los Angeles, San Jose and St. Louis.

Team Scope:

Kings: A bounce-back effort by its defense and goaltending highlighted Los Angeles' 4-2 win in Columbus on Tuesday night. A few days after Jonathan Quick gave up two goals on three shots before being pulled and the Kings were porous in yielding seven goals altogether against the Ducks, they tightened things up against the Blue Jackets. Jeff Carter scored in his return to Nationwide Arena, Mike Richards had his first goal of the season and an assist, while Justin Williams set up three goals. Quick stopped 18 shots.

"It's good to see [Williams] score points," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's good to see [Richards] score. Hopefully that's a step for them."

Predators: Eight of Nashville's next 11 games come on home ice, where the Predators lost each of their first two games of the season in shootouts. They'll try to carry over the momentum that comes from having beaten the defending Stanley Cup champs and a pair of teams ahead of them in the standings. Ryan Ellis opened the scoring early Tuesday in St. Louis with a power-play goal, and Martin Erat picked up a goal and two assists to pace a 6-1 thumping of the Blues. Pekka Rinne was solid with 31 saves.

"We were happy with the games we played in L.A. and San Jose," Erat said. "We played tight defense and we didn't give up that many shots. … It's huge for our confidence and for the young kids who scored today. It's great to see some of the other guys score and the offense go so high."

Who's hot: Kings captain Dustin Brown finished with an assist and five shots on Tuesday after scoring three goals in the previous two games. … Rinne has allowed just a single goal during each game in the Predators' win streak, stopping 80 of 83 shots, a .964 save percentage. Colin Wilson has four assists in the last two games.

Injury report: Los Angeles has defensemen Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back) on injured reserve, while Nashville has forward Patric Hornqvist (knee) on injured reserve.

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