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Game Day #40: Predators @ Kings

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings (Staples Center)

Time: 1:00 PM PST

TV: Fox Sports West, SportsNet

Enemy Reading: On the Forecheck

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik-Kopitar-Williams
Brown-Stoll-Lewis
Pearson-Carter-Toffoli
Clifford-Richards-King

Muzzin-Doughty
Martinez-Greene
Schultz/McNabb-McBain

Quick
(Jones)

Injured: Regehr; Scratched: Andreoff, Nolan, and a third pairing defenseman; Suspended: Voynov

Nashville Predators

Forsberg-Ribeiro-Smith
Wilson-Fisher-Neal
Bourque-Gaustad-Jokinen
Nystrom-Jarnkrok-Arcobello

Josi-Weber
Ekholm-Ellis
Volchenkov-Jones

Rinne
(Hutton)

Scratched: Stalberg, Salomaki, Bartley; Injured: Beck, Cullen

Notes:

  • It was a little disappointing to realize that the best sports day of 2015 might have already happened, but that's how exciting Thursday was. The first day EVER of playoff college football exceeded the hype, but even if you couldn't care less about football, there were two terrific hockey games bookending the day. The Capitals triumphed in the Winter Classic in the morning, and after two hours of futile struggle, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll scored in the final three minutes to stun Vancouver.
  • Aside from a matchup with Calgary, though, nothing brings down LA like a showdown with Nashville. The first game between the two teams was exciting (which cannot be said for most of these games over the years), though Martin Jones couldn't bail out a Kings squad which got outplayed on the road.
  • You may have already gotten to read Andrew's piece on the Kings' home performance vs. their road struggles (if you haven't, it's here), but the overall message doesn't take away from a larger point: it's nice to be home.
  • Will James Neal play? He's been out for the last week. If not, Nashville may use recent callups Viktor Stalberg or Miikka Salomaki, but they have a much more interesting backup plan as well: defenseman Victor Bartley took rushes on the Preds' second line during practice yesterday.
  • This is the part where I once again remind everyone that Alec Martinez could have been a winger.
  • Thankfully, that didn't happen.
  • The Kings' lineup question today is whether Brayden McNabb will return to action. Robyn Regehr remains at least a week, so Jamie McBain, Jeff Schultz, or both will keep their spot.
  • PREDICTION: Kings 4, Predators 3, in a shootout. COIN FLIPS!