|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 21, 2019
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee Attendance: 17,510
Predators looking to stack wins as Kings visit
A visit from the lowly Los Angeles Kings should give the Nashville Predators a good opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time in two weeks.
The Kings, meanwhile, will try to end some recent struggles against the Predators and avoid matching their season high with a sixth straight defeat overall Thursday night.
In contention for both the top spot in the Central Division and the Western Conference, Nashville (35-22-5, 75 points) was amid a 1-3-1 stretch before recording a needed 5-3 victory at Dallas on Tuesday. Defenseman Roman Josi scored twice in the third period and also had an assist, while Pekka Rinne made 36 saves in the wild contest.
Nashville, which could still be in the market for some additional offense as Monday's trade deadline nears, totaled one fewer goal Tuesday than over its previous three contests combined. Josi's go-ahead score at 7:35 into the third, deflected off the stick of Dallas' Esa Lindell, then floated over the glove of goalie Anton Khudobin and in to the net.
"It's not going to be pretty down the stretch," Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis told NHL.com. "We weren't scoring highlight-reel goals out there."
The Predators obviously don't expect things to be easy this late in the season, but they open a three-game homestand looking to win two in a row for the first time since Feb. 5-7.
They have to like their chances against Los Angeles (23-30-6, 52 points), which is toiling at the bottom of the West and has lost four straight to Nashville (0-3-1) while allowing 18 goals. On Nov. 17 in Nashville, Calle Jarnkrok recorded his first career hat trick, and Josi added two assists as the Predators won the season's first meeting with the Kings, 5-3.
Josi has four goals with seven assists in his last eight games, and 11 points in his last 12 versus Los Angeles. Rinne, who made 25 saves in the November matchup, has a 2.00 goals-against average and a shutout during his three-game winning streak against L.A.
The Kings, who might remain active sellers before Monday's deadline, are 0-3-2 following a three-game winning streak and have allowed 21 non-shootout goals during the slide. The Kings fell behind 3-0 at home to Washington on Monday before Alex Iafallo and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored in the third period.
"Times like this, you got to stick together and keep striving every day to get better as a team and individually," the second-year forward Iafallo, who has a career-high 26 points and a goal in each of the last two games, told NHL.com.
Jack Campbell stopped 18 of the 21 shots he saw against the Capitals while making his second straight start. Jonathan Quick was ill, but suited up Monday, and could be in goal as Los Angeles opens a four-game road swing at Nashville.
"We go back on the road this week, so we got to find our groove," Kings forward Austin Wagner said.
Quick has a 4.54 goals-against average during an 0-1-2 starting stretch. He yielded nine goals in losing both starts to the Predators in 2017-18.
Kings leading scorer Anze Kopitar has 13 points in 11 games, and nine in his last eight versus Nashville. He had a goal and an assist in the November defeat.
Los Angeles made a move early Thursday, sending Carl Hagelin to the Washington Capitals for a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 conditional sixth-rounder. Per reports, the Capitals will convey the pick if they win two playoff rounds this season with Hagelin playing at least 50 percent of the games in each round.
Hagelin has two goals and six assists in 38 games this season with the Kings and Penguins.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 21, 2019