Nashville Predators (42-20-7) at Los Angeles Kings (33-21-13)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 14, 2015, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -137 / Nashville Predators +124 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Nashville Predators are trying to avoid becoming another club that had a dominant regular season before fizzling out in the playoffs. A lot of times when this type of thing happens it starts at the end of the regular season, and that’s exactly what is going on right now in Nashville. The Predators are just 3-7-0 in their last 10 games and they’ve lost seven of their last eight games overall. They finally snapped their six game losing streak with an ugly 2-1 win over the lowly Arizona Coyotes on Monday night, but they couldn’t find a way to follow that up on Thursday in San Jose. Nashville came out flying in this one, out playing the Sharks in a scoreless opening period. Things evened out in the second period and it was the Sharks who jumped out in front after Mattias Ekholm took a slashing penalty late in the frame. Nashville did their best in the third period to find the equalizer but they just couldn’t solve Antti Niemi on this night. The Sharks sealed their win with an empty net goal, sending the Predators to a 2-0 defeat. The Predators out shot the Sharks 35-21 in the game but it wasn’t enough, and that’s just the way that things have been going lately for this club. There’s still time to right the ship heading into the post season but Nashville needs to get things going now. A match up with the red hot Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night looks like a recipe for disaster, but it might be just what the Predators need to snap them back to reality and get them playing some good hockey again.
Los Angeles has now put itself into a playoff position in the Western Conference, much to the chagrin of every other club in the league. The Kings have surpassed the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card berth and they find themselves tied with the Calgary Flames for the third spot in the Pacific Division. After a three game losing streak the Kings have won four of five, and they’re coming off a dominant 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Tyler Toffoli opened the scoring late in the first period with his 20th goal of the season, and Justin Williams made it a 2-0 lead for the Kings early in the second. Anze Kopitar then stuck the dagger in with his 14th of the year just 25 seconds into the third period, and Marian Gaborik finished things with an empty net goal. Jonathan Quick only had to make 19 saves to pick up the shut out. It’s scary to think that the Kings are starting to play the type of lock down defensive game that has given them multiple Stanley Cup wins recently, and the rest of the league better take notice. It looked for a while there that the Kings would be on the outside looking in this season, but right now they might be the favorites to go all the way again despite where they’ll be seeded.
It’s strange to think that a club at the top of the standings might be more desperate for a win in this game, but that just might be the case in this game. Los Angeles might be fighting for their playoff lives, but that all just seems like a formality until they ultimately get in and go on a lengthy run.