- - Preds @ Kings
||03-14-2010 03:21 PM
Preds @ Kings
I see the Preds winning this one. It would be good to pick up the 2pts we need.
There is a chance that the Predators could visit the Kings in the postseason's opening round depending on how the Western Conference shakes down. Los Angeles would prefer that didn't happen.
Currently seeded seventh in the West, Nashville will try for its seventh straight win over Los Angeles this afternoon at Staples Center.
The Predators have 79 points on the season, one more than the eighth-seeded Red Wings and two up on the ninth-seeded Flames. Nashville is also just three points behind the Avalanche and six back of the Kings, who are currently fifth in the standings.
Los Angeles would like to avoid a first-round meeting with Nashville, which has won its two meetings with the Kings this year to run its overall winning streak in the series to six games. The Preds have also won four straight at Staples Center, where they haven't lost since October 23, 2007.
Nashville, which will try to avoid its first overall loss to Los Angeles since March 13, 2008, wraps a four-game road trip tonight. The Predators improved to 2-1-0 on that trip with Friday's 1-0 win over Anaheim.
Shea Weber scored a first-period goal while Nashville skated with a five-on- three advantage off assists from Jason Arnott and Ryan Suter, who has a goal and five helpers over his last seven games. Pekka Rinne made it stand up with 31 saves for his fourth shutout of the season in what was his 100th NHL games.
"He's been a great goalie ever since he's been here and obviously the organization wants him for the long run," said Weber about Rinne, who owns 11 career shutouts. "They showed that by signing him [to a two-year extension on Feb. 24]. Obviously, he's rewarding them with some good play."
Rinne could again draw the start today seeing as he is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average in three lifetime meetings with the Kings.
The Kings will try to solve the Predators today in the opener of a four-game homestand. Los Angeles has won six of its last eight at home and returns to Staples Center after Friday's 2-1 shootout victory in Dallas.
With starter Jonathan Quick away from the team after his wife gave birth to the couple's first child Friday morning, 21-year-old Jonathan Bernier was recalled from Manchester of the American Hockey League and posted 29 saves. Bernier was making just his fifth career start and first since Oct. 2007. He earned the second win of his career and first since winning his NHL debut on Sep. 29, 2007.
"He's a very talented young man," Kings head coach Terry Murray said on his team's Web site of Bernier, "and he has worked hard this year to get his game to a good level and having good success. The opportunity and the preparation came together here tonight, and I really liked what I saw."
Despite that, Quick is expected return to the net today aiming for his first career win versus the Predators. He is 0-2-1 with a 3.31 GAA lifetime against them.
Fredrik Modin scored his third goal in five games since being acquired by the Kings from Columbus before the trade deadline, while Jarret Stoll had the game-winner in the shootout's sixth round.
Los Angeles, which won 34 games last year, reached the 40-win plateau for the first time since 2005-06 and tied a club record by winning its 21st road game.
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