The Nashville Predators (5-3-3) hope to end their three game slide at the Staples Center tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Kings (9-3), who have the best record in the NHL.
The game was a late addition to the NHL Center Ice package and will be game 4 at 9 p.m. Central.
The Kings have lost five straight games at home to the Predators, with their last win at Staples coming on October 23, 2007.
The Kings have been outstanding this year and may have played one of their best games on Thursday night when they beat the best team in the east (at the time), the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0.
Defenseman Drew Doughty missed six games but returned in Thursday's game and the Kings currently have no injuries. The Preds are still missing Ryan Suter, Marty Erat, and Matthew Lombardi.
Pekka Rinne (2-3-2, 2.65, .919) will start for the Preds in net despite giving up nine goals in the last two games. Jonathan Bernier (1-2-0, 2.68, .910) will be starting for the Kings. Bernier's only game against the Preds was a shutout on March 30, 2010.
Surprisingly, the Kings have not played much better on the man advantage than the Predators. The Kings power play converts at 15.2% (18th) compared to the Preds 13.6% (22nd).
The Penalty kill is a different story with the Kings success rate at 90.2% (4th) and the Preds at 78.0% (22nd).
A couple of milestones will be reached tonight with Barry Trotz coaching his 914th game with the Preds which moves him into a tie for fifth place with Toe Blake for number of games coached with one team. Ryan Smythe will play his 1000th career NHL game becoming the 257th player in NHL history to do so.
Mayors Manor gives Preds fans a special treat by meeting up with Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan for their take on tonight's game. With no Nashville beat writer on the trip, this is the next best thing.
Other previews from Predland come from Amanda DiPaolo, Dirk Hoag, Preds.com, and the Tennessean.
From the Southland comes game coverage from a bunch of good folks including Mayors Manor, Jonathan Moncrief, Kingscast, KingsCourt, Jewels from the Crown, Kings Insider, and the LA Times.
In Pred Nation...
Pekka's jersey will have to wait at least a few weeks before it travels into space. A hydrogen gas leak again scrubbed Friday's launch attempt. The next window to launch starts November 30 and will last a week. If it doesn't go then, Discovery would slip to a February launch.
There is a new 303:30 with special guests Matt Reitz and Willie Daunic.
Dirk Hoag has a post about taking your kids to a game. My boys were raised on 40 games a year and look how they turned out.
Chris Burton looks at the sad shape that Chet Pickard is in.
Something that hasn't been discussed much is Matthew Lombardi's 2004 "head injury" that caused him to end the season early and miss the final two rounds of the SC playoffs. Josh Cooper has more. Josh also talked to Barry Trotz about Pekka Rinne's eleven goals in two games. Today, he has a notes column with a discussion of Shea Weber's leadership in light of the three game losing streak.
Paul McCann has a Friday round-up and a reminder about next week's Special Edition of SlapShot Radio that looks at the movie from which the show gets it's name.
The Milwaukee Admirals beat Peoria 3-2 last night in a shootout.
Here is the latest update on Movember from Predators TV.
Around the NHL...
On the suspension front, Joe Thornton got two games for the hit to the head of David Perron on Thursday night. The Sharks are not happy with this one.
Ryan Porth is looking forward to today's goalie match-up of Jaroslav Halak and Tim Thomas, two of the best so far this season. So is this the year of the goalie? Today, Ryan asks if superstars should fight.
Matt Reitz has his weekly hockey fan in California and relates Tim Thomas' save percentage to Nikolai Khabibulin's breathalyzer test.
Adrian Dater has the story of Matt Duchene's benching on Thursday night. This will be a test of the kid's maturity.
Here's the latest on the Phoenix situation in an interview with Bill Daly. I was under the impression that the December 31 deadline was actually a "deadline" but now it is said that it involves a different set of rights.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to get Steven Stamkos resigned to a new deal and plan to speak to his agent to get things moving. He is really developing into an elite scorer.
Steve Kendal at The Hockey Writers makes the case for inducting Willie O'Ree into the Hall of Fame. I agree that it should be a priority.
The SB Nation writers are looking at ways to enhance the fan experience. There really is no reason why players could not participate in the shoot out without a helmet.
Fred Poulin takes a shot at the 15 most overpaid NHLers making over $3.5 million a year. I'm sure Predator fans could add a couple of names to the list.
Chris Johnson talked to "retired" coach Pat Quinn about what he is doing and whether he will coach again. He also talked to Steven Stamkos about his fast start.
Intent to Blow is concerned about Brian Burke's parade deposit and what it will cost him to get it back.
Odds and Ends...
The Nashville RollerGirls lost to Oly 214-53 last night in what ended up being a mismatch. The biggest victory was that the Nashville girls made it to their first National Championship tourney. In spite of the loss, they learned what it takes to compete on the highest level and it should inspire them to be even better next season. Congrats to the RollerGirls for an excellent season.
Could this be the end of Bernard's Surf in Cocoa Beach? A $300,000 tax lien was slapped on the owners unexpectedly on Thursday. This has always been a great place to eat and was the home of the astronauts eating and drinking exploits back in the sixties.
Here's a great human interest story that was given to us by @Portfoliokey about one of the most improbable astronauts that saved the day on his trip into space.
For those who don't live in the sticks and actually get movies when they open, 127 Hours is out and looks to be a great movie filmed around one of my favorite places on earth, Moab, Utah.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass