The Nashville Predators’ performance on the power play has them on the verge of tying the longest winning streak in franchise history.
The Predators may have a particularly good chance to do just that, considering they’re facing a Los Angeles Kings team that is last in the NHL in penalty killing.
Nashville won only once in nine games (1-7-1) from Oct. 19-Nov. 7, but improved play with the man advantage has lifted the team to three consecutive victories.
The Predators, who have won a club-record four straight on four occasions, have moved up to ninth in the NHL with an 18.4 percent success rate on the power play. Nashville has scored two power-play goals in five of its last eight games, and has converted on 5 of 17 chances during the three-game win streak.
“They worked really hard on it,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ”(Assistant coach) Peter Horacek has been working on the power play a lot. It’s a big part of the game right now.”
Nashville, beginning a four-game road trip, now gets to face the Kings, who are last in the league in penalty killing at 73.9 percent.
The Predators, however, have gone just 1-4 on the road, compared to a 6-4-1 mark at home. This trip also includes visits to Anaheim, San Jose and Colorado.
“It seems like we are rolling right now, but we’ve been kind of struggling on the road,” Predators forward Vladimir Orszagh said. “We have a big challenge for us with four games on the road. Hopefully, we can come back with some victories.”
Los Angeles comes into this matchup playing well despite not earning a point for the first time in seven games in its most recent contest.
The Kings hadn’t lost in regulation since Oct. 30 until their 1-0 defeat to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. They were 4-0-1-1 in their previous six games.
“We were dumping pucks in, and they’d get them right out,” Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. “We’ve got to get more of a forecheck going. It’s a little discouraging. We’ve got to play harder, be ready to meet the physical challenges and battle for 60 minutes.”
STANDINGS (through Nov. 17): Predators - 15 points, 4th place, 8 PB, Central Division. Kings - 18 points, 1st place (tied), Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Marek Zidlicky and Scott Hartnell, 5 goals; Zidlicky, 9 assists and 14 points; Wade Brookbank, 38 PIM. Kings - Trent Klatt, Derek Armstrong and Alexander Frolov, 6 goals; Ziggy Palffy, 17 assists and 22 points; Sean Avery, 60 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 17): Predators - Power play: 18.4 percent (16 for 87), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (70 for 85), 23rd. Kings - Power play: 15.8 percent (15 for 95), 18th (tied). Penalty killing: 73.9 percent (51 for 69), 30th.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Kings, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 11; Kings, 3-2. At Nashville, Tenn., Ian Laperriere scored a short-handed goal in the third period as Los Angeles snapped a six-game road losing skid despite being outshot 38-22.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 1-4-0-0 on the road; Kings - 3-5-1-0 at home.