Nashville (34-30-5) at Los Angeles (29-29-10)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EDT Mon Mar 16, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Nashville Predators haven’t been able to win on the road in recent weeks unless they’ve shut out their opponent. No team has been blanked at home more than the one they will visit Monday night.

Struggling on offense with Jason Arnott hurt, the Predators look to hold the Los Angeles Kings in check in a matchup of Western Conference playoff hopefuls.

Arnott, who leads Nashville (34-30-5) with 27 goals, has missed two straight games with an upper body injury and his status for this contest is uncertain. However, the Predators have not had great success on offense even with the veteran center in the lineup.

Nashville is among the lowest-scoring teams in the league with 2.48 goals per game, 2.21 on the road. The Predators have scored two goals or fewer in 16 of their last 17 road games, going 6-10-1.

That has made the need for strong goaltending and tough defense even more important away from the Sommet Center. In fact, each of Nashville’s three wins over its last six road games have been by virtue of shutouts.

The Predators won at Phoenix 2-0 on Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak. They are among a group of seven teams within six points of each other for the West’s final two playoff spots, a logjam in which Los Angeles (29-29-10) is at the bottom.

Nashville was able to earn crucial points by handing the Coyotes their ninth shutout of the season, putting them in a tie with the Kings for most in the league.

Los Angeles has been shut out an NHL-high six times at home. The Kings are returning to Staples Center after scoring a total of three goals in two straight road losses.

Los Angeles has faced goaltender Dan Ellis in its two games versus Nashville this season, scoring five goals en route to losing both contests. The Kings, though, may have to contend with Pekka Rinne for the first time.

Rinne, who made one start in two years for Nashville prior to this season, made 18 saves against the Coyotes for his seventh shutout of the season. He is 12-3-1 since Feb. 1 and has three shutouts during that span, including the Predators’ last two on the road.

“We all knew Pekka was a solid goaltender but what he’s done this year has been pretty amazing,” Nashville winger J.P. Dumont said. “We have two good goaltenders and we know every time they make a big save we have to score big goals for them.”

Dumont, who leads the Predators with 53 points (14 goals, 39 assists), has goals in consecutive games after being held without a point in his previous three. He has seven goals and seven assists in his last nine games against the Kings.

Dumont scored in both meetings this season, including a 3-1 victory at Los Angeles on Nov. 15 in the most recent matchup.

Erik Ersberg stopped 19 of 21 shots before being pulled in the final seconds. He is 1-2-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average in three games versus Nashville.

The Kings got a solid effort from Ersberg against Pacific Division-leading San Jose on Saturday night but lost 2-1 in a shootout.

“We hung in there,” said Ersberg, who made 38 saves before stopping five of seven shots he faced in the shootout. “If we play like this over the last 14, we can make things interesting.”

Los Angeles leading scorer Anze Kopitar was held off the scoresheet, but he has a five-game point streak at home (four goals, six assists).

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Monday, Mar 16