Kings hope to remain hot against struggling Preds

After a rough start to the season the Los Angeles Kings will take aim at a third straight victory when they host the struggling Nashville Predators at the Staples Center.

The Kings began the shortened season on an 0-2-1 slide before the defending Stanley Cup champions notched consecutive victories over Phoenix and Vancouver, a pair of teams L.A. defeated in last year's playoffs.

After registering a 4-2 win Saturday in Phoenix, the Kings knocked off the visiting Canucks by a 3-2 score on Monday.

Jeff Carter's third-round shootout goal lifted Los Angeles to the win over Vancouver. After the first four shooters missed, Carter switched to his backhand and lifted a shot high over a sprawling Roberto Luongo. Zack Kassian had a chance to send the shootout to a fourth round, but his backhand attempt missed the net and the Kings escaped with the victory.

Carter added a power-play tally in regulation, while Slava Voynov scored the game-tying goal with 44 seconds left in the third to send the game to an extra session.

Jonathan Quick recorded 21 saves for the Kings0.

"It's a playoff race right now and every point is important," Quick remarked. "Any time you get two points, it's a boost of confidence."

Following Thursday's home test, the Kings will play five straight and eight of their next nine games on the road.

The Predators are more then halfway through a seven-game road trip and it has not gone well. Nashville's only win of the season came in the opener of this swing, but the club has gone 0-2-1 in the last three games. All told, the Preds are 1-2-3 on the season.

Nashville was shut out in its most recent contest, dropping a 4-0 decision Monday evening in Arizona. Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Chad Johnson stopped 21 shots to notch his first career shutout.

Pekka Rinne was charged for all four goals on 25 shots for Nashville.

"We got beat all over the ice," Nashville captain Shea Weber admitted. "We just have to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves if we're giving everything we can."

After Thursday's tilt, the Preds still have stops to make in San Jose and St. Louis before returning to Music City.

Los Angeles won three of four meetings against the Predators in 2011-12 and the Kings have taken seven of the last nine encounters overall. Although Nashville has lost two in a row in L.A., the Preds have six wins in their last nine trips to the Staples Center.