Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings are hoping to go on a roll. A recent comeback victory and a lengthy homestand could help the defending Stanley Cup champions turn around what has thus far been an inconsistent season.
But first the Kings will have to contend with the Nashville Predators when they kick off a seven-game stay at the Staples Center on Saturday afternoon.
Los Angeles won its second Cup in three years last spring, but the club has been up-and-down so far in 2014-15. The Kings are 19-12-8 on the season and they are only doing that well thanks to a 14-4-2 record on home ice. All told, L.A. will play eight of its 11 games in January at home.
Darryl Sutter's squad was able to halt a five-game road losing streak the last time out, but needed to mount a late comeback in Vancouver to do so. The Kings posted a 3-2 win over the Canucks on Thursday by notching a pair of goals in the final 2:07 of regulation.
Justin Williams tied the score at 2-2 with a power-play tally at the 17:53 mark of the third and Jarret Stoll provided the game-winner just 53 seconds later.
Stoll scored with 1:14 remaining, beating Ryan Miller with a slap shot from the left circle.
"We battled, I thought we deserved this game, I thought we deserved to win it," Stoll said.
Jonathan Quick faced just 16 shots in net for the Kings, who won for only the fourth time in their last 10 (4-3-3). Quick will likely get the start today although he is just 2-6-2 with a 2.76 goals against average in his career against Nashville.
The Predators enter today's showdown as one of the top teams in the Western Conference, sitting second place in the Central Division with 51 points. That puts them one point behind Chicago for first place in the division. Nashville also is five points ahead of the reigning Cup champions despite the fact that L.A. has played three more games than the Preds.
Nashville boasts a 5-1-1 record over its last six games and is coming off Tuesday's 3-2 win over the visiting St. Louis Blues. Shea Weber scored twice, including the deciding goal midway through the third period, as Peter Laviolette's club skated away with the close regulation win over a division rival.
Gabriel Bourque added a goal and one assist for the Predators, who retained their perfect record (12-0-0) following a loss.
"The guys don't get riled too much," Weber said. "We came back right away."
Pekka Rinne came up with 26 stops for the hosts. With Nashville also playing tomorrow night in Anaheim, Rinne could get a rare break from backup Carter Hutton this weekend.
Rinne is 8-6-1 with a 2.72 GAA in 15 career games against L.A. and 10-3-4 with a 2.17 GAA in 17 tilts versus the Ducks.
Nashville recorded a 4-3 shootout win at home against the Kings on Nov. 25, giving the Preds wins in three straight and five of the last seven meetings in this series. L.A. has lost two of its last three at home against the Predators.
The Preds are 10-7-2 as the away team this season.