The Nashville Predators are in Los Angeles tonight where they will meet the Kings at the Staples Center. This is the third game of a four-game road trip for the Predators. They will make the short trip to Anaheim for a Sunday matchup against the Ducks and then head back home. Two beatable opponents, but the Predators haven’t been playing great hockey recently. With a pedestrian record of 18-15-6, you could argue that the Predators haven’t been playing great hockey at all this season. Tied for last in the Central Division with the Chicago Blackhawks is not where we expected to find the Predators in January. The Blues and Avalanche look well out of reach now, so the Predators have to start focusing on clawing back to at least get a wildcard.
Nashville will be looking to avoid a four-game losing skid in this one. They’ve already dropped their first two games of this road trip, with losses against the Penguins and Stars. The Preds were also losers against the Penguins at home on December 27th before heading out on the road. It hasn’t been a pretty scene for the Predators recently. However, it could get a lot uglier if they fail to show up against the Kings and Ducks this weekend. Back-to-back losses versus non-playoff teams would likely send Nashville into panic mode if they’re not at that point already. The Kings can be a tricky opponent on the road, so we’ll see if the Predators are ready for the challenge.
Too many teams go into the Staples Center believing that the Kings are an easy out. That’s not the case, though, and as bad as the Kings have been this season, they tend to show up at home. Home ice in Los Angeles has been their greatest weapon in 2019-20. In any event, the Kings are still swimming at the bottom of the Pacific with the Ducks. The Kings hold a slim 1-point advantage on the Ducks with 38 points as opposed to 37 for the Ducks. So, yeah, you can see why it would be a disaster if the Predators lose tonight and tomorrow. It will be bad enough if the Predators lose one of the two games.
The Kings are coming off an impressive 5-3 win over the Flyers at home on New Year’s Eve. The Flyers forgot they had a game to play, and didn’t wake up until after the 1st period. They fell behind by a score of 4-0 and never fully recovered. The Flyers were able to make it interesting late, but the Kings managed to hold on for their second win in three games. Nashville has to use the tape from that game as a message, or they could just as easily get behind early as well. The Kings should expect a desperate Predators team on Saturday night. Head below for our free Predators vs. Kings pick.
Nashville Predators vs. L.A. Kings Betting Odds:
Predators vs. Kings Prediction:
The Kings aren’t playing for much in the second-half, so there’s nothing to lose but play spoiler. The Blues went from last to first a season ago, though don’t expect the same magic in Los Angeles in 2019-20. I will say that the Kings do play hard at home. Whenever the bright lights come on at the Staples Center, the Kings usually give their opponent a contest. Despite a dismal record of 17-21-4, the Kings are 11-7-1 at home. I know that’s not the most spectacular figure, but it’s a whole lot better than 6-14-3 on the road. They’ve at least made games entertaining for those in attendance at the Staples Center.
The offence for the Kings has been downright horrid as a visitor, but tend to come out of their coma at home. While the Kings are 28th in the NHL with 2.6 goals netted per game, they’ve scored 2.95 goals per game at the Staples Center. They haven’t been at home much recently, with only two of their previous ten games coming in LA. The Kings should feel good about getting back-to-back games at Staples. After exploiting a spotty Flyers’ defence, they’ll have another chance to put up some offensive numbers on Saturday night.
The hard nosed Predators’ defence of the past is long gone. Nashville prided themselves on having one of the most physical teams in the league for years. Every time they stepped on the ice, the Preds weren’t giving up an inch to the other team. However, in the post-P.K. Subban era, the Predators have tanked defensively. And no, losing Subban alone should not be reason enough for their defence to do a 180 trip. The Predators did add a playmaker in the offseason with the signing of Matt Duchene. Although, it’s all irrelevant if the blue line continues to play this poorly.
Nashville has slipped to 24th in the NHL with 3.31 goals allowed per game. They’ve been getting hammered of late, having yielded 3.8 goals per game in their previous ten contests. The Preds have given up 15 goals in their last three games alone. Fortunately, the offence has been scoring, but they’ve been forced to carry the load.
The Predators have recorded 3.6 goals per game in their last ten outings, so not enough to erase the defensive issues. They should find success against Jonathan Quick and the Kings’ defence, but whether their own unit can hold up is questionable. It won’t be as wild as the 7-4 Kings win over the Predators in October, though we should expect to see at least 6 goals on the board in this one. In that case, the total at 5.5 provides a decent option for a bet on the OVER.