January 31, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (10) moves the puck against the defense of Nashville Predators center Nick Spaling (13) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings vs. Nashville Predators Preview

January 31, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) blocks a shot as center Mike Fisher (12) helps to defend against Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter (77) and left wing Kyle Clifford (13) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 20 vs. Nashville, March 4, 2013, 7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)While their five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday, the Los Angeles Kings return home to close out their season series with the Nashville Predators on Monday night. This will mark the third and final meeting between the clubs with the Preds winning both, first 2-1 in Los Angeles on January 31 and 3-0 in the Music City on February 7.

Despite their stellar goaltending recently, the Kings suffered a setback in Vancouver over the weekend as Jonathan Quick allowed four goals on shots he probably should have had. Given his success lately in addition to his winning ways against Nashville, don’t be surprised to see Jonathan Bernier get the call instead of Quick who played in both losses this season.

While the Kings have been notorious for their lack of offense in recent weeks, the Predators currently have the league’s worst offense at 2.0 goals per game and are hoping for another subpar performance from whichever Los Angeles goaltender so they can improve in said department.

At 9-8-5, Nashville sits one point ahead of Los Angeles in the West standings but being that they lost four of their last five and five straight away from home, Monday may just be Los Angeles’ lucky night as they hope to leapfrog their opponents in the conference. In their last four games, the Preds have also allowed seven power play goals on 13 opportunities and given that the Kings have improved immensely on the man-advantage since the last meeting between the two clubs, the Preds may need to do whatever they can to stay out of the box.

While Nashville does hope to sweep the Kings for the first time in four years, they must also take into account how much better their opponents have been in capitalizing on their scoring chances in recent weeks. In spite of being outscored 4-1 in the two previous meetings, Los Angeles has outshot the Preds 56-28 over the course of those two games and that may end up being the difference in an otherwise close contest.

Enjoy the game!

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