Predators-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 03, 2013
The Los Angeles Kings hope the end of their winning streak was simply a one-game reprieve from the stellar goaltending they've had of late. The Nashville Predators' league-worst offense continues to sputter and the team's current struggles show little sign of fading until its penalty-kill issues are sorted out. Los Angeles will look for a sixth win in seven games Monday night as it tries to avoid being swept by the Predators in a season series for the first time in four years. After allowing six goals during a five-game winning streak, the Kings (10-7-2) took a 5-2 loss at Vancouver on Saturday. Los Angeles, which ranks among the NHL's best in goals allowed at 2.4 per game, yielded more than three scores for just the third time. "I just didn't stop the puck," said Jonathan Quick, who gave up four goals on 23 shots. "I didn't make enough saves for my team to give them a chance to win." Nashville (9-8-5) may need another subpar performance from Los Angeles' goaltender. The Predators have lost four of five and five straight on the road as the NHL's worst offense, with 2.0 goals per game, continues to flounder. They have totaled two goals in the last four losses on 96 shots (2.1 percent), and are the league's first team to be shut out five times. The Predators were nearly blanked again Saturday in San Jose, getting only a goal from Gabriel Bourque with 5:30 remaining in a 2-1 loss. "We have to find a way to win games," defenseman Roman Josi said. "It doesn't matter if you win them 1-0 or whatever. We just have to outwork the other teams. That's our game." Though the Kings had tallied 17 goals during their winning streak, the offense wasn't derailed entirely Saturday. Anze Kopitar recorded an assist, extending his point streak to five games, though Jeff Carter, who had one goal in each of his last five, was scoreless on two shots. Justin Williams scored on the man advantage, and the Kings should be able to get their power play going again against a Nashville penalty-kill unit that is struggling mightily. The Predators have given up seven goals on 13 power-play opportunities over the last four games. Both of the scores allowed Saturday came on San Jose power plays, the ninth straight road game in which Nashville's opponent has scored with the extra man. "I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job on PK but we just have to find a way to win these games," goalie Pekka Rinne said. "Everything is so crucial now. I don't think any of us were very happy tonight by how we played." The Predators' own power play has also sputtered on the road, scoring on just 7.9 percent of its chance (3 for 38). Colin Wilson, who has team highs of five goals and 15 points, had two of his scores in a 3-0 victory over Los Angeles on Feb. 7. The Predators, who've outscored the Kings 4-1 despite being outshot 56-28 in winning the first two meetings, haven't swept the season series since 2008-09.
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