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Predators to face Kings without Beck, Cullen

by John Manasso /

PREDATORS (24-9-3) at KINGS (19-12-8)


Season series: The Nashville Predators defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a shootout on Nov. 25. Predators right wing James Neal scored the shootout winner in the sixth round. Right wing Craig Smith had a goal and an assist and forward Colin Wilson had two assists. Kings right wing Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made 18 saves and stopped all six shots in the shootout.

Predators team scope: Forward Taylor Beck (illness) and center Matt Cullen (upper body) are not expected to travel to Los Angeles, the Predators website reported. Nashville is 10-7-2 on the road, 17-5-3 against the Western Conference and 7-2-1 against Pacific Division opponents. Nashville has lost once in regulation in its past seven games (5-1-1). Defenseman Shea Weber, who led all NHL defensemen in goals last season with 23, has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in the past nine games. Weber’s two goals Tuesday were his first since Nov. 20. Forward Olli Jokinen had two assists on Tuesday, his first points in eight games. Left wing Gabriel Bourque had a goal and an assist Tuesday, his first points since Dec. 11; the points ended a six-game pointless streak for Bourque. Right wing Mark Arcobello practiced with Nashville for the first time Thursday after being acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers for forward Derek Roy.

Kings team scope: Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr is a week away from returning to action, coach Darryl Sutter told the Kings website. Regehr has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury. In a 3-2 comeback victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Sutter changed up his lines and reunited Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli with center Jeff Carter. They combined for nine shots and Pearson had an assist. The Kings are 14-4-2 at home and 6-4-1 against Central Division opponents. The Kings have lost once in regulation in their past seven games (4-1-2). Los Angeles allowed its first power-play goal in the past four games Thursday. Forward Justin Williams ended a seven-game goalless streak and center Jarret Stoll ended a 12-game goal drought Thursday.

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