The California swing continues tonight for the Nashville Predators in Los Angeles, when they face the Kings at Staples Center in their third and final meeting on the season. It's a 0-1-1 mark thus far for Nashville against tonight's opponent, with the Preds looking to stop a three-game losing skid overall.
Nashville fell 4-3 in a shootout to Anaheim on Tuesday night, a game that saw Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg score while Pekka Rinne made 39 saves in net.
Forsberg and Ryan Johansen remain tied for the team lead in points with 51 apiece. Forsberg's 27 goals are tops among his teammates, and Johansen's 41 helpers lead the category. Viktor Arvidsson has 23 goals and 47 points, while Mike Fisher and Roman Josi have 38 points each. Rinne is 25-16-7 on the season; Juuse Saros owns a 7-6-3 mark.
Los Angeles (31-28-6) will play its first game tonight since falling 4-3 to Vancouver on Saturday. Jeff Carter leads the club with 30 goals and 56 points, followed by Tanner Pearson with 22 tallies and 40 points. Anze Kopitar has 38 points on the season, and Drew Doughty has 36 from the backend. Goaltender Jonathan Quick recently returned to the lineup from injury and is 2-0-1 on the season, while the newly acquired Ben Bishop is 0-1-1 with the Kings.
Video: Thomas Willis previews NSH vs. LAK
Update: The Predators held a full morning skate on Thursday, and it appears Kevin Fiala, Colton Sissons and Anthony Bitetto could all be back in Nashville's lineup tonight. Vernon Fiddler did not skate this morning, but P.A. Parenteau did. However, it does not look like either player will dress for the contest versus the Kings. For a look at the Preds projected roster, click here.
As the Preds look to turn things around in Tinseltown, here are three things to watch for:
4 From 76:
A new combo has clicked for the Preds on the power-play, as of late, in the form of two blueliners. In the last two games in which they've both participated, P.K. Subban has fed a pass to Ryan Ellis for a one-timer with positive results for Nashville. Ellis has three power-play goals in his last four games, and the team has scored at least one power-play goal in five of their last six outings, a positive trend at this point in the season.
The Predators lost to Montreal and Chicago in regulation last week without receiving a point, but Nashville liked their play in the majority of those two outings. On Tuesday against Anaheim, the Preds collected a point in the shootout loss, but they didn't feel they even deserved that much.
They'll take the point, sure, but the team wasn't happy with their efforts on the ice Tuesday, and with the standings as tight as they continue to be, tonight's contest holds a great deal of importance. Nashville has collected at least one point in each of their last five meetings at Staples Center.
Bye Part Two:
The schedule has the Kings coming into this evening's game having just seen four days off between game action. Unlike the five-day break, Los Angeles was still practicing, but they were a team that struggled out of the break this season, dropping their first three games after the fact. It may be a moot point, but there could be an advantage waiting for the Predators if they can capitalize.
Take It In:
Tonight's game is the last this season that will commence past 7 p.m. CT for the Preds - it's a 9:30 CT start from Staples Center, with pregame coverage beginning at 9 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee and 8:30 p.m. on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.