Kings try to extend Predators' losing streak

LOS ANGELES -- The Nashville Predators try to avoid a season-long four-game losing streak when they visit the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Nashville enters the game seventh in the Western Conference standings, three points ahead of the St. Louis Blues and six points in front of the ninth-place Kings.

The Predators (32-24-10) are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday after twice surrendering two-goal leads. Nashville faced 90 shots against the Ducks, including 72 during 5-on-5 play. Both totals were season highs.

Nashville lost its previous two games after giving up late goals in regulation to the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

"(Tuesday night) was different than the last two (losses)," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "The last two games, I thought we played well. (Tuesday night) we were on our heels a little bit, going through the motions of the game."

The Kings are 4-7-2 in their last 13 games, dropping from sixth place. The Predators, Blues and Calgary Flames each leapfrogged Los Angeles in the standings since Feb. 4.

The Kings (31-28-6) haven't played since losing to the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Saturday night. They took Sunday off and practiced hard Monday and Wednesday.

"Just score one more goal here and there," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said after practice Wednesday. "It seems like a long time ago now, but we beat Anaheim at home here (Feb. 25), then we went on the road and played the two overtime games. ... then we had the shootout game against Toronto, so it's a really close game, and the 4-3 game against Vancouver, so a really close game."

The Predators lost four of their last five to the Kings overall, most recently a 4-0 shutout in Nashville on Dec. 22. They are 3-0-2 in their last five games at Staples Center, though, most recently losing 3-2 in overtime to Los Angeles on Oct. 27.

Los Angeles leading scorer Jeff Carter scored a goal in each game against the Predators this season. Carter has 25 points (16 goals, nine assists) in 24 career games against Nashville. The 12 even-strength goals in his career against the Predators are his most against any Western Conference team.

The Predators went 0-2-1 during their last California swing that took them through Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose in October. They play at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Nashville is 13-16-3 on the road this season, the worst record of any top-eight team in the in the Western Conference.

"We've got to change some things to win games," said Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who's 11-7-4 in his career against the Kings with an .896 save percentage.

Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler left the game Tuesday after blocking a shot at 6:21 of the third period and didn't return. The fourth line played just two shifts in the third period and none in overtime.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick did not play in the first two games against Nashville this season as he missed 59 games with a groin injury. Quick struggled in his career against the Predators, owning a 4-8-2 record and .894 save percentage, his second-lowest save percentage against all NHL opponents.