Game Day Preview #70, Nashville Predators @ Los Angeles Kings

Nashville looks for the season sweep tonight.


Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: On the Forecheck

You mean the season wasn’t over after the Kings triumph over the Ducks on Sunday? You mean there are still games left to play? Games that are, uh, meaningful to perhaps the other team on the ice?

Wow. Fancy that.

The Kings are back at home — their actual home, not their Orange County one, where the dueling Let’s Go Kings/Ducks chants were on full display this weekend — and taking on the Nashville Predators, who are on the tiniest of losing streaks right now. They’ve dropped two straight — a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes and a 3-2 loss to the Ducks. Filip Forsberg scored twice in a minute of play in the third, on two consecutive power plays, to get the Predators on board and within a goal, but the late push wasn’t enough for Nashville.

The power play goals were a nice touch for the Predators, though, who have struggled with the man advantage this year. They’ve frequently been at the way, way bottom of the league — yes, worse than the Kings at times — and currently sit in 30th place, converting on 13.2% of their opportunities. (The Kings are 28th, converting 15.0% of the time, so, you know, not much to write home about.) The picture doesn’t look much prettier for the Predators even if you narrow it down to games played since February 1 (27th, 13.3%), but they are on fire if you look solely at the five games they’ve played since March 1 (4th, 28.6%). Of course, In that two-week span, the Predators have four total power play goals, and two of them came in the same game. So, momentary blip? Sudden hot streak? The league’s, uh, 29th-ranked penalty kill is going to find out tonight.

The Kings, meanwhile, are looking for their first win against the Predators this season. They lost 5-3 in November and 2-1 in February — a whole host of “close but not close enough” games. They’ll turn to their young players to drive the way once again. Can Carl Grundstrom continue his goal streak? Sure, lots of other things need to happen, too, but when your expectations are about on the floor, “what else can the rookie do” is about as good as it gets. He’s already developed quick chemistry with Adrian Kempe, which bodes well for each of them in the future if they can maintain their form into next season. It doesn’t bode well for Jonny Brodzinski, who had previously skated on a line with Kempe but instead will be a healthy scratch tonight.

Alec Martinez, who missed practice with an illness, will be in the lineup tonight. Brendan Leipsic comes back in, which means that Kurtis MacDermid, erstwhile fourth line winger and/or extra large defenseman, will be out. So will Paul LaDue, for Reasons. Jonathan Quick and Juuse Saros face off in net.

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