The Nashville Predators will face an unhappy Los Angeles team tonight at Staples Center (9:30 p.m. FS-TN) after the Kings suffered a 4-2 loss in San Jose late on Monday night.
It was interesting watching Tweets and Facebook comments from Kings fans after the game as there was an outcry from Kings' fans for coach Terry Murray's head since they feel that he is unable to generate sufficient offense to win games. After a fast 6-2-1 start, the Kings are 0-3-2 and have not scored more than two goals in the last five games.
It is hard to believe that he Kings were only generating 2.14 goals per game before last night's loss. They feature offensive threats Anze Kopitar (9g, 11a), Jason Williams (3g, 7a), Mike Richards (2g,8a), Dustin Brown (3g, 6a), and Simone Gagne (4g, 4a) and were expected to be an offensive juggernaut in the preseason.
The flip side of the coin is that the Kings are playing tight defense, allowing the same 2.14 goals per game as they have produced. Jonathan Quick (6-3-3, 1.87, .936) has been outstanding in net. Last night's four goals allowed to San Jose was an aberration and is his season high.
It is probable that the Predators will face Jonathan Bernier (0-2-0, 3.55, .857) since the Kings are coming home after a tough game in San Jose. Bernier has played well against the Predators (4-1-0, 1.80, .940) in his short career.
Pekka Rinne (7-4-2, 2.33, .929) will be in net for the Predators tonight. The only question will be if Anders Lindback (0-0-0, 1.50, .958) will get his first start of the year against Anaheim tomorrow since the Preds are playing their first back to back set since opening weekend.
Update: It appears that Barry Trotz is giving Rinne the evening off and will give Lindback the start against the Kings according to this update from Josh Cooper.
On offense, Patric Hornqvist brings a five game goal streak (6g, 1a) into the contest and David Legwand currently has a four game point streak (3g, 3a) and is off to his best start of his career (5g, 9a). Rookie Craig Smith (4g, 6a) has also been a key cog in the Preds' offense.
The road had been good to the Predators as they are third in the league behind Colorado and Pittsburgh in points on the road (5-2-1) this season and have a four-game point streak going (3-0-1) in roadies.
The Predators are still hobbling with Kevin Klein and Sergei Kostitsyn expected to be game time decisions after both sat out the last game in San Jose on Saturday. Nick Spaling also remains on injured reserve.
After tonight's game, the Predators will head south to Anaheim and play on Tuesday before they come home for Saturday's big 1000th game celebration against Montreal on Saturday with a special 6 p.m. start time to accommodate Hockey Night in Canada.
Go here for POTG discount tickets for the Montreal game as well as all remaining games and use the offer code preds.
Other predator Previews come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Robby Stanley, Fang Finger, Dirk Hoag, Paul McCann, Predatorial, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
The other side of the story comes from Mayors Manor, Kingscast, KingsCourt, Jewels from the Crown, Kings Insider, J.P. Hoonstra, and the LA Times.
Here are the game notes from NHL Media Services.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass