1/21 Preview – “Likely Same Lineup + Right Back At It, Men In The Mirror, Six-Game Forecast

WHO: Los Angeles Kings (25-16-6) @ Nashville Predators (21-18-6)
WHEN: Saturday, January 21 @ 5:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: Bally Sports West – AUDIO – iHeart Radio – TWITTER: @DooleyLAK & @LAKings

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Kings are again on the street, opening up a six-recreation journey this night in Tennessee in opposition to the Predators.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Defenseman Matt Roy led the Kings the final time these groups met, as he scored twice within the comeback Kings victory in October. Forward Gabe Vilardi (1-1-2) additionally had two factors in that recreation, whereas ahead Quinton Byfield has 4 factors (2-2-4) from two profession video games in opposition to the Predators.

KINGS VITALS: After a fast follow yesterday again in California, the Kings took an optionally available, but nicely-attended morning skate right now from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Goaltender Pheonix Copley was the primary netminder off this morning for the Kings, indicating that he’ll get the beginning this night to kick off the journey. Copley has confronted the Predators twice in his NHL profession, posting a 0-1-0 report from the 2 appearances. Copley has 27 saves on 35 pictures from the 2 video games, one among which got here in aid.

Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan indicated that the Kings will “seemingly” have the identical lineup this night in opposition to Nashville as they did in opposition to Dallas on Thursday, however he would not know for certain till the skate had concluded, which it had not in the course of the morning availability. For reference, this is how the staff lined up final outing –

Should the Kings decide for a similar grouping, that might imply that Gabe Vilardi (day-to-day) wouldn’t play, together with ahead Alex Turcotte and defenseman Tobias Bjornfot. Vilardi practiced yesterday and is right here in Nashville, no replace as of this writing concerning his standing for this night or past. Samuel Fagemo was the lineup alternative on Thursday in opposition to Dallas and would stay in if in truth the Kings made no modifications.

PREDATORS VITALS: Nashville begins a 4-recreation homestand this night in opposition to the Kings and has 10 of 12 video games general right here on dwelling ice.

No phrase but out of Nashville concerning a beginning goaltender, however for now, we’ll assume that common starter Jusse Saros will get the decision this night. Saros brings with him a report of three-1-1 all through his NHL profession in opposition to the Kings, with a .919 save share and a 2.91 targets-in opposition to common.

Per Emma Lingan of Nashville’s staff web site, this is how the Predators aligned final outing in opposition to St. Louis –

Defenseman Roman Josi is some extent-per-recreation participant in opposition to the Kings over the past six seasons with 12 factors (2-10-12) from 12 video games performed. Nashville hasn’t misplaced to the Kings in regulation on this constructing since 2016, though the Kings received 4-3 within the shootout right here again in October.

Notes –
Right Back On The Horse
Something to be mentioned for getting proper again at it after a troublesome one.

The Kings weren’t proud of their very own efficiency in opposition to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Coming off a 4-day break, they weren’t on their recreation proper from the beginning, though it was extra a matter of the connectivity and sharpness, versus power. The final thing the Kings needed was one other break at this level and fortunately for his or her sake, they will not get one. It’s proper again into the thick of issues with three video games in 4 nights, beginning tonight in Nashville.

“It’s in all probability the most effective factor to occur, to go proper again at it once more, clearly we now have the three in 4 nights,” captain Anze Kopitar mentioned. “Personally, I prefer to get proper again on the market and proper it in a recreation, not in practices.”

The 4-day break was the primary of its variety this season for a Kings staff that had the league’s most compact schedule over the primary three months of play. As Todd McLellan put it, it wasn’t a century off and each staff within the league has these conditions and needs to be able to go in them. The Kings had been there, bodily, however not as a lot mentally, at the very least within the recreation’s opening phases, which noticed them go three targets down within the opening interval. Not the way in which this staff has discovered success previously, nor how they will must play to seek out it tonight.

That’s within the rear-view mirror now and the group now feels as if its again on observe and able to go this night in opposition to the Predators.

“It’s robust taking part in after just a few days off like that, it is no excuse for the loss, however we have flushed the legs out a bit, bought our rhythm again and tonight we will show ourselves,” defenseman Matt Roy added. “It’s a giant street journey for us right here and we now have to get off to a superb begin.”

Time will inform the way it performs out on the ice, however a superb alternative to proper the ship right here in Nashville.

Men In The Mirror
“I believe we each have fairly related constructions and programs, it seems like we’re taking part in ourselves generally. We’re each tight checking, bodily and it makes for a superb matchup.”

That was Roy’s take this morning when requested concerning the historically onerous-fought battles between the Kings and Predators. Games particularly in Nashville felt tight, with the matchups over the past two seasons each determined by a single aim. When the Kings are on their recreation in opposition to any opponent, it is often how video games are performed. A tie recreation within the third interval with no ton of room on the ice is fairly regular for this group and Nashville has a number of the identical identities of their recreation.

If each groups are executing as meant, it ought to result in a aggressive recreation.

“Yeah, there are some structural issues that come into play which might be fairly related,” Todd McLellan mentioned this morning. “I believe he is speaking loads about what occurs within the impartial zone, which ends up in breakouts and every part else, so it is a staff that mirrors us in some methods, but is completely different in some ways too.”

The quotes this morning take me again to final season after the Kings bought smacked by Boston at dwelling in February. Trent Yawney was the performing head coach on the time and mentioned one thing alongside the strains of “now we all know what it feels prefer to play in opposition to ourselves.”

Outcome apart, the Kings have now felt that a few occasions since, most not too long ago in opposition to a staff like New Jersey final week. They know the way troublesome these varieties of video games are, with the expectation that tonight will fall into that class as nicely.

“We know they’re onerous to play in opposition to, they will be heavy, it is going to be a giant boy recreation tonight,” defenseman Sean Durzi added. “It’s thrilling, it is enjoyable hockey, you like these video games reasonably than the excessive scoring ones and we’re wanting ahead to it. A superb problem forward of us, they’re an excellent staff and we have to place our greatest foot ahead tonight.”

Trippin’ It
Finally, Insiders – A six-recreation journey begins tonight in Nashville and it is the journey final season the place we noticed issues actually begin to gel for this group. Six video games on the East Coast, albeit in opposition to completely different opponents, heading into the All-Star break. Last 12 months the Kings went 4-0-2 on this journey, with some key victories away from dwelling. Is the staff seeking to replicate that success? Obviously……however you’ll be able to solely win the sport in entrance of you.

“I believe we now have to take a look at it like Nashville tonight, we will not examine final 12 months to this 12 months and say it is going to occur once more, we now have to go make it occur,” Todd McLellan mentioned this morning. “Every recreation has its personal persona, id, if you’ll, and we’re beginning tonight, that is all we now have to fret about. Play it after which transfer on and on the finish of the journey, we’ll look again after which we will examine, was this the identical as final 12 months or not, however one by one.”

Polling the room on the state of affairs, the phrase “focus” got here up a number of occasions. Every staff needs to enter a break on a constructive word and day-to-day focus shall be key to making sure that the Kings are in a position to do this.

Hard to select up greater than the 2 factors in entrance of you, however one thing that’s price following because the journey progresses. Doesn’t should be 10 of 12 factors, however for the Kings to get issues began with 2 of two factors could be the proper solution to get it going.

Kings and Predators, tonight at 5 PM Pacific, 7 PM right here in Nashville!

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