The Vertical sources:
2 -
Team 1 2 3
LA 0 1 1
NSH 1 0 2

Kings-Predators Preview

AP - Sports

Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens have been superb in replacing the injured Jonathan Quick for the Los Angeles Kings.

The Nashville Predators aren't having the same success filling the void left by Pekka Rinne.

Jones will likely be back in net looking to rebound from his first career loss when the Kings visit the struggling Predators on Saturday night.

Los Angeles (25-9-4) has been without Quick - the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner - since he suffered a groin injury in a 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo on Nov. 12. The Kings haven't been fazed by his absence, though, going 14-3-3 behind Jones and Scrivens.

Scrivens has compiled a 1.61 goals-against average while going 6-2-3 since Quick got hurt, but Jones may be an even bigger surprise. The 23-year-old rookie netminder won his first eight starts behind a 0.98 GAA, tying the NHL record for the best start to a career set by Bob Froese with Philadelphia in 1982-83.

Jones' attempt to take sole ownership of the record fell short Monday. He gave up goals on the first two shots he faced before giving up two more on the next 21 in a 5-2 defeat to Dallas, only the second loss in 11 December games for Los Angeles.

"I just thought about stopping the next one, which is all you can do because what's done is done," said Jones, who has a 1.31 GAA and a .953 save percentage in nine starts.

He's won all four of his road games behind a 1.23 GAA, while Scrivens has lost his last two while allowing five goals on 80 shots.

While the Kings haven't been slowed much by Quick's absence, the same can't be said for the Predators (16-18-4), who are struggling to replace Rinne.

He's been out for over two months with a hip infection, and rookies Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec haven't been nearly as effective.

Hutton has had the bulk of the duty, going 6-6-2 with a 3.35 GAA in 17 games. He's been pulled from two of his last three starts, recording a 6.01 GAA.

Mazanec hasn't been much better with an 0-5-1 record and 3.70 GAA in eight games - six starts.

It's unclear who will get the nod and try to help Nashville snap a season high-tying five-game losing streak, but Hutton may not have helped his cause in Friday's 4-1 defeat at Dallas. He gave up a goal after 42 seconds on the first shot before finishing with 30 saves.

"It was definitely a tough way to start," Hutton said. "I tried to battle, but giving up four is not good enough on any night."

Some offensive production could also give the Predators a lift. They've totaled nine goals in five games after netting 10 while winning the three previous contests.

Craig Smith was held without a point by the Stars after scoring four goals and assisting on another over the three previous games. The center leads Nashville with 10 goals, but he has none in eight straight meetings with the Kings.

David Legwand leads the team with 25 points, but he's gone four games without one. The veteran center had two goals in a 4-3 win at Los Angeles on Nov. 2.

The Kings won 2-1 in a shootout in Nashville on Oct. 17.

View Comments (9)