Puck Pawn’s Game Day Report
November 4th, 2017
Nashville Predators (6-5-2) @ Los Angeles Kings (10-2-1)
written by: Zach Dufton
The Nashville Predators were in Orange County last night, handing the Ducks a 5-3 loss . Today, they make the long trek from Anaheim to Los Angeles where they are set to take on the Western Conference leading Los Angeles Kings (it’s early, but it feels good and I’ll take it while I can). While the Predators are missing some key pieces due to injury (I’m looking at you Nick Bonino and Ryan Ellis). Losing James “The Real Deal” Neal to the expansion draft hurts, but the Predators still tout young gifted forwards lead by Ryan Johansen and have a stout productive defensive corps. Lets break down some numbers to see how this game might go.
Los Angeles comes in to this game with the best penalty kill in the league at 91.5%. On the other end, Nashville has scored most of their goals on the power play and are sitting at a respectable 23.2%, which has them 7th in the league. Look for Roman Josi on the first unit to be quite dangerous and Viktor Arvidsson to set up around the left point to clap one timers. Nashville is the most penalized team in the league but can handle their own on the penalty kill. The Predators sit at 11th in the league on the penalty kill while the Kings power play sits at 13th in the league at 19.1%. The Kings may face an uphill battle on the power play as Nashville really protects their goalie and regularly clear out the front of the net. If the Kings want to be successful on the power play, they’re going to need to use crisp passes and take shots from the slot as often as possible. Nashville has scored the least amount of goals 5 on 5 while the Kings are best in the league allowing only 2.08 goals per game. Since the Kings are #1 on the penalty kill and #1 in the league on goals against average, the Predators may find plenty of difficulty getting goals past the Kings defense and goaltending.
Looks like Darcy Kuemper to get the nod and make his 3rd start this season, looking to win his 3rd game. Pekka Rinne started for Nasvhille in Anahiem last night, so look for the Preds to start their back up goaltender Juuse Saros, who has had his struggles so far this season. He’s managed 0 wins and 3 losses and has a goals against average of 4.36 with a save percentage of .817. The Predators hope that he can turn his season around sooner than later.
If the Kings want to be successful against the Predators they’re going to need to put plenty of shots on the young back up. The Kings did a great job of attacking the Toronto Maple Leafs early in the game and potted a few early goals on the Leafs backup goalie. The King’s defense is going to have to keep an eye on the Predator’s forwards as they like to fly the zone early and utilize long stretch passes to get in behind the defense. The King’s will have to capitalize on the power play in this game. They went 2 for 4 on the power play against Toronto so I expect them to continue to build on a strong showing on the power play in the previous game. If the Kings can contain the Predators young forwards, get to the young back up early, and have success on the power play against Nashville, they should come away with the 2 points. Go Kings Go!