March 4, 2013 2:19 pm

Game 20 Preview: Nashville at Los Angeles

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Bernier
Season: 5 GP (4 GS) / 4-1-0 record / 1.64 GAA / .931 Sv% / 0 SHO
Career vs Nashville: 7 (7) / 6-1-0 / 2.00 / .930 / 1
Last Game vs Nashville: 3/17/12 / 60 MP / 19/21 shots / 4-2 W
2012-13, Home: 2 (2) / 2-0-0 / 1.00 / .957 / 0

Projected Starting Goaltender, Nashville – Pekka Rinne
Season: 20 (19) / 8-7-4 / 2.09 / .921 / 3
Career vs Los Angeles: 12 (12) / 7-5-0 / 2.65 / .902 / 1
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 2/7/13 / 60 MP / 32/32 shots / 3-0 W
2012-13, Away: 10 (9) / 3-5-1 / 2.48 / .908 / 0

Leading Scorers, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (6-12=18)
Goals: Jeff Carter (11-2=13)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (6-12=18)
Plus/Minus: Slava Voynov (+9; 3-6=9)
Penalty Minutes: Mike Richards (30; 4-9=13)

Leading Scorers, Nashville
Total Points: Colin Wilson (5-10=15)
Goals: Colin Wilson (5-10=15); Gabriel Bourque (5-2=7)
Assists: Colin Wilson (5-10=15)
Plus/Minus: Sergei Kostitsyn (+8; 2-7=9)
Penalty Minutes: Rich Clune (39; 1-2=3)

A stick tap goes to: General Manager David Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz. Nashville has been a model sunbelt expansion franchise since its expansion season, and though it took the Preds some time to establish an identity, the club’s consistent committee scoring has led to a 512-432-84-60 (W-L-OTL-T) record over 13-plus seasons, in which they’ve made the playoffs seven times.

A fist shake goes to: Nashville’s sputtering offense. The club ranks last in the league in goals and shots per game, and by virtue of that and its defensive-minded approach, the Predators have been generous in distributing points amongst themselves and the other 14 Western Conference teams via three-point games. Nashville hasn’t gone more than two consecutive games without heading past regulation. The Preds’ last two games have been regulation losses to Anaheim and San Jose. Could we see the second Kings-Predators shootout at Staples?

Why the Kings need to win this game: Should the Kings win and the Ducks beat the Coyotes, it would mean Los Angeles would jump from 11th in the conference to fourth, which is kind of incredible. Also: home game, game versus fellow playoff dogfight team, avenge two previous losses to Nashville, etc.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – 19 / 2.53; NAS – 30 / 2.00
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 8 / 2.42; NAS – 5 / 2.27
Power Play: LAK – 20 / 16.0%; NAS – t-24 / 14.3%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 14 / 82.0%; NAS – 22 / 78.7%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-13 / 29.5; NAS – 30 / 24.1
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 25.4; NAS – 8 / 27.6
Faceoffs: LAK – 7 / 51.8%; NAS – t-12 / 50.7%
Save Percentage: LAK – 19 / .905; NAS – 7 / .918

Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Trevor Lewis – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Dwight King
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick

Notes: Alec Martinez re-enters the lineup after missing eight games due to an upper-body injury. The Kings were 6-2-0 in his absence. Because of Martinez’s return to the lineup, Davis Drewiske will be scratched for the first time this season. As always, lineup projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Projected Lines – Nashville
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Martin Erat
Sergei Kostitsyn – David Legwand – Gabriel Bourque
Nick Spaling – Craig Smith – Patric Hornqvist
Matt Halischuk – Paul Gaustad – Rich Clune

Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Jonathon Blum – Kevin Klein
Scott Hannan – Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Chris Mason

Notes: Nashville claimed Bobby Butler off waivers from New Jersey earlier today, though the forward took part in the Devils’ morning skate is not expected to play. Matt Halischuk enters the lineup to replace Brandon Yip, who was injured Saturday in San Jose. Sergei Kostitsyn is likely to see power play time on the point opposite Shea Weber. “I think we need to distribute the puck a little bit better than we are,” coach Barry Trotz told Josh Cooper of the Tennessean. “That’s one thing Sergei can do and has done in the past.” The Predators are 1-for-11 on the power play over the last five games. As always, lineup projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

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