Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
It’s been eight days since the Predators and the L.A. Kings clashed at Bridgestone Arena (with Nashville winning 2-1) and both teams are hungry for two points. The Predators lost the next night against the Carolina Hurricanes and won decidedly on Saturday against the Florida Panthers. The Kings have been on a tear since the loss scoring 8 goals in 2 games winning against Minnesota and Anaheim.
A three-game home-stand for the Predators starts out at 7 P.M. Central tonight and tickets are still available. Be sure to use the Predatorial and Donkey Tickets for a discount.
This Year’s Series: 1-1-0 Home: 1-0-0 Away: 0-1-0
Looking at the Kings: After playing out of their minds for the last two games scoring 4 goals, the Kings are making a huge playoff push and looking to add some padding to their ranking. The Kings boast an impressive even-strength lineup maintaining a healthy plus/minus rating throughout the top players of the team.
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in points and shares the goals lead with Captain Dustin Brown. The Kings have an interesting conundrum in net where they are lucky enough to have two very qualified goaltenders vying for top minutes. Bernier and Quick have been outstanding this year and both were instrumental in the last two wins (Bernier with the shutout and Quick allowing 2).
Looking at the Predators: The loss to Carolina could be chalked up to the back-to-back game and the added pressure of new players adjusting to the system. The win against the Panthers put many of those worries to rest. The wrister by Andrei Kostitsyn was a thing of beauty and was assisted by the other new face, Paul Gaustad. Andrei would later on spot Legwand on the breakaway and fed him the pass for some added insurance.
While the Predators continue to play at a high level, the rest of the top heap of the Western Conference also continue to win games and keep themselves at an arms reach of Nashville.
For the Kings to win: The Kings came close to making last Monday’s game very interesting. If the Kings can figure out a way to overcome Rinne, they may have a shot at the two much-needed points. Whether it’s Quick or Bernier, either one will have to stand tall and keep a lid on the Predators PP.
Speaking of the PP for Nashville, the Kings will have to corral their aggression lest they draw some unfortunate penalties and put a very dangerous PP on the ice. Dustin Brown can be a thorn in many teams sides and he scored the lone goal for the Kings last Monday (although it was a pinball, lucky bounce).
For the Predators to win: Keep riding the workhorse that is Pekka Rinne. Rinne is outstanding and garnering much deserved consideration for some after-season hardware (Vezina/Hart). If Rinne can play as solid in March as he did in January/February, look for the Predators to make a serious push for the division.
The new additions for the Predators seem to be taking to their new surroundings with ease. Gaustad is a beast in size and on the face-off dot and Andrei Kostitsyn is not afraid to shoot the puck, especially pinpointing wrist shots top shelf on unsuspecting goaltenders. Hopefully these newly christened Predators are just the right moves to be made for playoff success.
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Stay HardCore, friends