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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: November 2, 2013


Nov 2, 2013

Written by: Patten Fuqua


Last updated: November 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm


Nashville Predators (6-5-2) at Los Angeles Kings (9-5-0)
Gametime: 9:30pm CT / 10:30pm ET
Television: FS-Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game



Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne (hip)

Los Angeles Kings - Jeff Carter (lower body)

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Magnus Hellberg, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.750Sv%, 5.00 GAA


Jonathan Quick, 8-4-0, 0 SO, 0.903Sv%, 2.56 GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Magnus Hellberg – With Carter Hutton giving up 9 goals in his last two starts, logic would dictate that Barry Trotz would at least give a little bit of thought to seeing if Hellberg can keep the puck from finding the back of the net and get Nashville a couple of points.

Hellberg would be making his first career start if he is given the nod against the Kings. Hellberg was 1-2 with a 2.14 GAA and a .924 save percentage in 3 AHL starts with the Milwaukee Admirals prior to his call-up last week. He saw brief NHL action at the end of Nashville’s 6-1 loss to St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena on October 26, allowing one goal on four shots in a little over 12 minutes of ice time.

Drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Hellberg is in his second season in North America after spending all of last season in the Nashville minor league system.

Los Angeles Kings -

Justin Williams – With five goals and five assists so far this season, Justin Williams is the Kings’ leading scorer. However, Williams has not scored in his last five appearances against the Predators.

The last time Williams did score against the Predators, however, was a 2 goal outing in 2012.  Despite being the team’s leading goal scorer, Williams has only scored one goal in 5 games. However, in the Kings’ last outing against the Sharks, Williams tied the game in the third period to send the game into overtime where Los Angeles would go onto win.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but here it is…

Nashville has been able to consistently put a barrage of shots on their opponents, but they have not been consistent about getting the puck into the net.

Thursday night might have been the first time all season in which a high shot count (40) translated into a high goal count (4). Through 13 games, the Predators are putting nearly 5 more shots on net than last season, but they are still only averaging 2.08 goals per game while giving up 2.69 goals per game.

Indicative of the team’s inability to translate shots into goals, the team’s leading shooter, Craig Smith, has 40 shots but only 2 goals. In fact, Smith, Matt Cullen and Gabriel Bourque have spent a large portion of the season playing together and tend to generate a lot of offensive chances, but between the three of them, they have 85 shots on goal, but just 4 goals.

Another example of a player getting shots on net but not being able to light the lamp is Eric Nystrom. Nystrom actually has 3 goals in 27 shots, but one of those goals was a penalty shot and another actually ricocheted off of his body. Nystrom only has one goal in which there were other skaters on the ice and he actually took a shot.

With Pekka Rinne out, Nashville will likely allow more goals than they normally would. Thus, the quality of Nashville’s chances will need to improve for them to have a chance to win every night.

Los Angeles Kings -

Jeff Carter was placed on injured reserve on Friday and there is likely no one happier to hear that news than Barry Trotz.

The last time the Predators rolled into Los Angeles, Jeff Carter hung a hat trick on Nashville. In the 15 times that he has faced Nashville, he has scored 18 points (10 G – 8 A),including two hat tricks. It doesn’t matter what sweater Carter wears, he always seems to be able to score at will on the Predators. He has a hat trick with both Columbus and Los Angeles and registered another three-point night while he was with the Flyers.

The fact that number 77 will not be on the ice for the Kings means that Barry Trotz will not only have one less thing to worry about on Saturday night, it means that Darryl Sutter is without his best offensive weapon against the Predators.

That isn’t to say that the Kings still do not have plenty of firepower on their end, it just means that for once Nashville gets a breather from having to worry about Jeff Carter’s position on the ice.

Last time out...

On October 17, the Kings defeated the Predators 2-1 in a shootout at Bridgestone Arena.

Matt Cullen opened scoring at 10:33 of the first period, while Los Angeles’ Slava Voynov got the equalizer at 19:18.

The two teams remained scoreless through the next two period, overtime and the first two rounds of the shootout before the final shooter, Anze Kopitar, beat Pekka Rinne to give the Kings the win.

Pekka Rinne stopped 29 of 30 Kings shots in the loss while Jonathan Quick stopped 34 of 35 Nashville shots in the win.

One interesting fact...

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was a nonroster invitee to Predators training camp in 2009.  Muzzin has played in 54 games for the Kings since the start of last season, scoring 8 goals and 13 assists. He also played in 17 playoff games last year, registering 4 assists.

In 3 games against the Predators, however, Muzzin has yet to register a point.


Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua