The Kings, after a solid game against Chicago on Saturday, will probably need to be even better tonight. The Nashville Predators are hot, and no doubt will be pumped up today after the team traded for Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad in an attempt to boost their group of forwards. Neither player will be in the lineup tonight, but the current group of Predators will be enough of a challenge. Nashville is 3-0-1 in its last four and hasn’t lost in regulation at home since Jan. 5. Darryl Sutter isn’t fooling himself about the challenge the Kings face tonight.
SUTTER: “One thing about Nashville is, other than them getting better, with the players that are here, other than the improvement that you see in their best players over the years in terms of maturity, two things that never change with the Nashville Predators is their work ethic and their speed. That’s been consistent from day one, when they came in the league. If you want to stay in the game and you want to beat them, you better have those two things in place.’’
The Predators will also challenge the Kings’ penalty-kill unit, as Nashville has the league’s best power-play percentage (21.7), headlined by defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
SUTTER: “They have maybe the best and second-best defensemen in the NHL. With that, and when you look at it the other way, they don’t have that star guy up front, so they’re very methodical and workman-like in what they do in situations like that, but it revolves around Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Those guys demand it and they command it. That’s the best way to look at it. They’re lefty-righty and they’re dominant players. When you talk about a matchup, there is no matchup. It’s got to be five guys that can handle those two guys.’’