The Nashville Predators face the Los Angeles Kings tonight for the second time in eight days. Such familiarity has its advantages, according to Nashville head coach Barry Trotz.
“You’re familiar with a little bit of their DNA and how they play and what makes them tick,” Trotz said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “And they know us. Preparation-wise it is a little bit better and you have a better understanding of what you’re up against.”
Though Nashville won last Monday’s meeting 2-1, the Kings have taken five of the last seven meetings with the Predators and three of the last four on Bridgestone Arena ice. Plus the Kings come to Nashville on a bit of a roll, going 3-1 in their past four contests—the loss to the Preds being their only blemish—and outscoring opponents 13-4 in that span.
Conversely, one of Nashville’s most potent weapons this season—the power play—has been silenced of late. Not for lack of performance, but for lack of opportunity. With just one power-play chance in each of its last three games, the Predators can’t even gauge how good their power play is these days, Trotz joked. He believes teams around the league are tightening up and playing a more disciplined brand of hockey at this point in the season, resulting in fewer manpower advantages for his club.
Should Nashville draw a few penalties against the Kings tonight, the battle between the Preds’ No. 2-ranked power play and Los Angeles’ fourth-ranked penalty killing squad should be a fun one to watch. Monday’s practice offered a look at possible power play units for the Preds: During special teams drills, Fisher, Hornqvist, Erat, Suter and Weber were on one PP unit; Legwand, Smith, Josi and Ellis were on the other, with A. Kostitsyn and Wilson alternating in the other forward slot.