(7-1-1) Nashville Predators vs. Los Angeles Kings (6-3-0)
3:00 P.M. (CT) | Staples Center | #NSHvsLAK
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
The Nashville Predators continue their CMA road trip with a Halloween afternoon contest in Los Angeles today against the Kings. It's the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season and the second of four games on Nashville’s current trip.
The Predators started the excursion with a 2-1 victory over San Jose on Wednesday night, with goals coming from Eric Nystrom and Calle Jarnkrok. Los Angeles has now won six in a row after a slow start and carry a 6-3-0 record into this afternoon's meeting.
Saturday afternoon marks the first of 12 back-to-back series this season for the Predators, as Nashville will skate in Anaheim tomorrow evening. The Preds posted a 10-7-5 record in back-to-backs in 2014-15, with a 7-1-3 record in the first half, and a 3-6-2 in the second. It's also the first afternoon outing for the Predators in 2015-16; last season, the team had points in seven of their eight afternoon contests, posting a 6-1-1 record.
Nashville enters this afternoon's game with a 7-0 goal differential in first periods and have scored the game's first goal in eight of nine contests, including four goals within the first 10 minutes. The Preds are the only NHL club who are yet to surrender a goal in the opening frame this season, owning a plus-13 shot differential (92-79) in the first, which is their greatest differential of any period.
Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne has posted a 6-1-1 record with a .934 save percentage, a 1.74 goals-against average and one shutout through the early going this season, allowing two goals or fewer in six of eight games. Against Western Conference teams this season, Rinne is 3-0-0 with a .975 save percentage and a 0.67 goals-against average, allowing just two goals on 80 shots.
Although his five-game point streak came to an end on Wednesday night, James Neal continues to lead the Preds offensively with six goals and nine points to his name. Forwards Mike Ribeiro (1g-5a) and Filip Forsberg (2g-4a), along with defenseman Roman Josi (2g-4a), each have six points on the campaign. Forwards Craig Smith and Eric Nystrom are tied for second on the club in goals with three.
Jeff Carter (3g-6a) sits atop the points leaderboard for the Kings with nine points, while Tyler Toffoli has already potted seven goals for Los Angeles this season. Summer acquisition Milan Lucic (2g-4a) and defenseman Drew Doughty (6a) each have six points thus far. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has improved his record to 5-3-0 on the season with a 2.00 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and one shutout.
This is the ninth time in Preds franchise history that the club will play on Halloween, having earned points in five of their last six games on the holiday, posting a 3-1-2 record in that span. All-time the Preds have a 4-2-2 record on Halloween.
The Predators posted a 3-0-0 record against the Kings last season, winning both games at Staples Center. All time, Nashville has a 29-25-7 record against the Kings and have won their last five games against them. The two teams have played to six-consecutive one-goal contests (5-0-1).