Predators try to get on track against Kings

( - The Nashville Predators try to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Los Angeles Kings for Saturday's battle at the Staples Center.

The Predators have lost two straight, marking just the second time this season the club has suffered defeats in consecutive outings. Nashville's latest loss, its third in four games, came at the start of the team's longest road trip of the season.

After absorbing a 6-1 rout at the hands of visiting St. Louis on Saturday, the Predators began their seven-game trek Thursday in Phoenix and were handed a 5-4 shootout loss. Mikkel Boedker scored the lone goal of the decisive phase for Phoenix, while Nashville lost its second straight road tilt and fell to 2-3-1 as the guest this season.

After the first eight shooters came up empty in the shootout, Boedker skated hard down the right side before lifting a backhander high over Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton. Thomas Greiss, who finished with 36 saves for the Coyotes, then stoned David Legwand's wrister to end the game.

Nashville led the contest by a 3-0 score after the first period, but Phoenix scored four of the final five goals of the game to force an extra session.

Legwand registered a goal and two assists in the loss, while Eric Nystrom, Matt Hendricks and Paul Gaustad each scored once for the Predators.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot. It's just frustrating," Nystrom said. "Everything was preventable. Those can't happen. That's tough. We should have had two points in that game, 100 percent. We just let off the gas pedal, and a couple of broken plays end up in our net, and that's got to be the only time that happens this year."

Hutton allowed four goals on 25 shots in defeat. He is expected to get a fourth straight start on Saturday.

While Nashville tries to find its way on a lengthy road trip, the Kings hope to continue a homestand with a second consecutive victory.

Los Angeles opened a four-game stay at the Staples Center with Wednesday's 4-3 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks. Anze Kopitar scored on a power play in the extra session to give the Kings the come-from-behind victory over their Pacific Division rivals.

The Kings tied it on Justin Williams' power-play goal in the third period and handed the Sharks only their third loss of the season when Kopitar rifled a one-timer from the point with Justin Braun off for hooking.

Drew Doughty and Jarret Stoll also scored for Los Angeles and Mike Richards had two assists. Jonathan Quick had 17 saves in the win and didn't face a shot in overtime as the Kings pressured San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi.

"It's probably the closest you can get to playoff hockey this time of the year," Kopitar said. "I thought it was a lot of intensity, a lot of hitting. As usual when we play these guys, whoever wins the special teams usually comes out on top. We did that tonight and got the two points."

L.A. is 5-2-0 as the host this season and has won its last three in the City of Angels.

The Kings will be without star winger Jeff Carter tonight due to a lower-body injury that expects to keep the sniper out at least a week. Carter is tied for the team lead with five goals this season and also has added four assists. He led L.A. with 26 markers in 48 games during last year's lockout-shortened season.

Nashville has lost two straight, four of six and six of the past nine meetings with the Kings. L.A. has claimed three of the last four encounters on home ice.