Series (Game 2 of 4)

Los Angeles leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Saturday, December 18th
Game 3: Thursday, January 6th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 15th

Kings 6

(18-11-1, 37 pts)

Predators 1

(17-9-6, 40 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 18, 2010

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
LA 4 2 06
NSH 1 0 01

R. Smyth (Kings - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Doughty (Kings - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

T. Lewis (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Kings-Predators Preview


The Nashville Predators are playing some of the best hockey in their history, and they're doing it on the back of an unsung rookie goaltender.

Anders Lindback and the Predators seek to record a point for a franchise-best 11th straight game Saturday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

Nashville (16-8-6) figured to struggle after Pekka Rinne, its only veteran goalie, went down with a left knee injury at the start of this month. Instead, the Predators haven't lost in regulation.

Lindback has seen all the action in net since Rinne's injury, going 6-0-1 with a 1.43 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and two shutouts. The 22-year-old Swede lost his bid for a third shutout in four games in the third period Friday, but only had to stop 15 shots in a 3-1 victory at New Jersey.

"I just feel comfortable with the way they're playing in front of me," Lindback said. "I trust them so much. We have a really good defense and smart forwards. I didn't expect it to be this good in my first year here."

Martin Erat scored his fourth and fifth goals -- both on the power play -- for the Predators, who improved to 8-0-2 in their last 10 games. It's the first time they've recorded a point in 10 straight since a 9-0-1 run Oct. 14-Nov. 4, 2006.

Erat finally appears back in the swing of things after missing seven games earlier this season with back spasms.

"He's caught up," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He missed some time earlier. He's going to the net. He's shooting pucks. He's moving his feet and he's doing the things that Marty Erat does really well and now he's getting rewarded for it."

The Kings (17-11-1) also have a goalie who was recently very hot. Jonathan Quick has started each of the last eight contests, including a 51-save shutout at Detroit on Monday to open a five-game road trip for Los Angeles, which improved to 4-0-1 in a five-game stretch.

Quick failed to keep that run going Thursday in St. Louis, allowing the tiebreaking goal to Alex Steen with 2:53 remaining. The Blues tacked on an empty-netter and handed the Kings a 6-4 defeat.

"You've got to play consistent for 60 minutes," said Anze Kopitar, who nearly gave Los Angeles the lead in the middle of the third period but got denied by Blues goalie Ty Conklin. "You can't have defensive breakdowns like that in the third period."

Kopitar scored his team-leading 14th goal in the loss, converting on a 5-on-3 advantage. The center has six goals and four assists during a six-game points streak. He also has a point in seven of his last eight games versus Nashville, including a goal and an assist in the Kings' 4-1 home win Nov. 6.

Los Angeles has won its last two meetings with the Predators after losing the previous seven in this series.

Both clubs must travel to defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago for their next contest. Los Angeles faces off against the Blackhawks Sunday, while the Predators get three days off before visiting the United Center on Wednesday.