The Nashville Predators faced off against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds were looking to take down the Pacific Division leaders and cement themselves as a legitimate playoff contender in the Western Conference.
After a short time of both teams exchanging opportunities in the first period, the Kings were the first to get on the board when Jake Muzzin (7) scored to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. Nashville responded with a goal of their own when Ryan Ellis scored a power-play goal at 19:33. The Kings were called for too many men on the ice to give the Preds a man-advantage.
The next two periods would be back-and-forth but neither team was able to break the tie. The game went to overtime. This season, the Preds are 1-10 in overtime, so needless to say, there were lots of doubt going into the extra five minutes of play. Tanner Pearson (8) scored at 1:18 to give the Kings the 2-1 overtime win. This game pushed the Predators record on the season to 27-21-11.
Keys to Watch
Struggles without Price
The Montreal Canadiens have struggled without their all-world, Vezina trophy winning goaltender, Carey Price. Price has been on injured reserve since November 25th with an apparent leg injury. Over the past 10 games, the Canadiens have won four. Montreal has streaks this season of multiple losses in row, most notably five straight from January 9th-23rd with losses to Boston, Chicago (2), St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. Carey Price has been replaced by Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens. Both are giving up, on average, 2.58-3.00 goals per game and have a save percentage of .901-.902. Nashville needs to take advantage of the struggling Canadiens defense and keep pressure on Mike Condon, the expected starter for tonight.
Granberg Steps In
Barret Jackman suffered a rough stop in the boards against the Kings on Saturday night. Petter Granberg will be taking his place, paired with Anthony Bitetto on the third pair. Granberg has appeared in six games this season with one assist. The assist came on January 21st against the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-1 victory for Nashville. Last season with the Toronto Marlies, Granberg had one goal and 14 assists in 53 games played. Keep an eye on Petter. If he struggles, look for the lines to be shuffled and his playing time slashed.
Since returning from injury on February 9th, Colin Wilson has been struggling. Before leaving for injury, Wilson had put together a point-per-game average in his last week. Since returning, Wilson has not registered a single point, -2 rating, and is only averaging one shot per game. Granted, his time has been cut as he is only averaging 13 minutes per game on ice, but he needs to take advantage of the opportunity. If he can’t contribute on a regular basis, look for a younger player, possibly someone with the Milwaukee Admirals to take his place.
The Preds will look to begin this week with a win. The Predators have four games this week and tonight is the first of a back-to-back. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 6:30 pm!