(24-9-3) Nashville Predators vs. Los Angeles Kings (19-12-8)
3 P.M. | Staples Center
TV: Fox SportSouth | Radio: 102.5 The Game
The Nashville Predators are headed to California to begin the New Year, starting this afternoon in Los Angeles for a contest against the Kings. It's the second meeting between the two clubs this season, with the Preds coming away with a 4-3 shootout victory at Bridgestone Arena back in November.
Looking to continue 2015 the way they ended 2014, the Predators currently sit second in the Central Division, just one point behind the Blackhawks. Nashville is 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne has recorded all 24 of Nashville's wins this season, a mark that leads the NHL. Rinne's .934 save percentage and 1.88 goals-against average are both second in the League, and his three shutouts are tied for third in the category.
Filip Forsberg's assist on James Neal's second goal on Monday against Chicago pulled him to within two points of tying Alexander Radulov for the franchise record for points by a rookie. The Swede leads both the Preds and NHL rookies in points with 35.
The Preds new line of Gabriel Bourque, Paul Gaustad and Olli Jokinen recorded five of the Preds nine points on Tuesday night against St. Louis. Jokinen's two assists marked his first multi-point game with Nashville and pulled him to within just six points of 750 for his career.
Nashville registered 47 shots on Tuesday, the 16th time this season the Preds have tallied more that 35 shots. In their last 21 games, the Predators have outshot their opponent 16 times, posting a record of 14-6-1 during that span. Overall, Nashville's winning percentage (.818) when outshooting its opponent is tops in the NHL (18-4-0) and its 32.8 average shots per game is third in the League.
Jeff Carter leads the Kings in points with 28 (10g-18a), with Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli right behind with 26 points apiece. The defending Stanley Cup champs have received balanced scoring this season, with 15 skaters hitting the double digit mark in points thus far. Goaltender Jonathan Quick leads the Kings in net with a 16-9-7 record.
The Preds have won 14 of 23 games against the Kings since the beginning of the 2008-09 season. All-time, Nashville is 27-25-(3)-4 versus L.A. and 15-11-(0)-3 at Staples Center. Mike Ribeiro has 42 points in 50 career games against the Kings, his fifth highest tally against any League opponent.
With an afternoon puck drop, there will be no morning skate in Los Angeles.
The Preds have recalled forwards Viktor Stalberg and Miikka Salomaki from Milwaukee (AHL) and placed forward Taylor Beck on injured reserve. Stalberg and Salomaki will join the team in Los Angeles ahead of this afternoon's contest. If Salomaki plays, it would be his first career NHL game. Read the release here