Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Nashville Predators will take on Los Angeles Kings tonight at Staples Center in the third game of a four-game Western road swing. The Predators are 1-0-1 on their road-trip so far, and will look to even the season series against Los Angeles.
Nashville will also take on the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, which means that Anders Lindback will likely start either tonight or Sunday against the Ducks. Given Rinne's success against the Ducks this year, Lindback is probably the likely starter against the Kings.
Los Angeles is coming off of a 4-2 victory over the Ducks on Friday night. Tonight's game will be the second game of a back-to-back set for the Kings. Nashville will try to push the pace early on to try and build a lead.
On Thursday night, the Predators struggled to maintain a consistent offensive push, and eventually lost to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout. They will have to be more offensively effective tonight against the Kings. If Nashville is able to execute their cycle game, they should have a lot of scoring chances.
Paul Gaustad will not be available for the Predators tonight, so the lineup will look a little bit different than it did on Thursday night. The faceoffs tonight will be critical. Nashville's other centermen will have to step up and win timely faceoffs in Gaustad's absence.
My player to watch for the Kings is Jeff Carter. Carter has three goals in his last four games, and seems to have found a comfort zone in Los Angeles. He's always been a dangerous offensive forward, and the Predators will have to limit his time and space tonight.
For Nashville, my player to watch is Patric Hornqvist. On Thursday night, Hornqvist scored his 22nd goal of the season. He has been a pest for opposing goaltenders throughout his career. Hornqvist has four goals against the Kings so far this year.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)