Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 8 @ Nashville
October 17, 2013
4:30pm PST (7:30pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings will hope to play similar to the way they did on their first two trips east than their most recent as they pay a visit to Bridgestone Arena to take on the Nashville Predators to close out their cross-continent road trip.
Thursday night will mark the first of three meetings between the Kings and Preds this season with each matchup coming before the New Year. This will also be the first time the Kings will get to see Seth Jones, the phenom who was chosen by Nashville third-overall in this past June’s Draft.
At the post-draft party at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, I had a chance to speak with Jones. When I asked the big man not to score against Los Angeles when he and his team played them, he simply said, “I’ll try not to.” Tonight, we’ll see if Jones lives up to that – but even if he doesn’t, I won’t hold anything against him.
In six games so far, the rookie has a goal and two assists and on Thursday, will be determined to help his 3-3-0 Predators get above .500 for the first time this season after having already gone 3-1-0 on their current homestand.
As for Los Angeles, they are coming a rough Tuesday night in Tampa Bay where the Lightning’s speed and skill was too much as they took advantage of a non-existent defense winning 5-1.
While the Kings did win two of their three meetings with the Preds last season, Jonathan Bernier was their go-to guy between the pipes. Now that Bernier has since left for Toronto, the question will be who gets the start in the Music City: Jonathan Quick or Ben Scrivens.
While Quick was pulled after allowing three goals on 17 shots in Tampa, goaltending wasn’t the problem. Some may argue that it was to an extent and they may be correct but both Quick and Scrivens were hung out to dry by the Los Angeles defense on more than one occasion. Let’s not forget that the Lightning offense deserves as much credit as the Kings defense deserves blame.
Bottom line: whichever netminder gets the nod in the Los Angeles goal tonight will need to have the defenders in front of them elevate their game a notch or two (or three).
For those the Kings need to contain, Nashville defenseman Shea Weber recently picked up his first goal and has three points in his last two games.
While they were unable to contain Stamkos and St. Louis on Tuesday, fans should be confident that the Kings won’t make the same mistake twice in as many games.
Los Angeles hopes to end their road trip on a positive note before returning home for a Saturday night tilt against Dallas. We’ll see if they can pick up the win.
Enjoy the game!