Nashville (6-7-1) at Los Angeles (10-4-2)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 4:00 pm EST Sat Nov 7, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Anze Kopitar(notes) had yet to be born when the Los Angeles Kings last earned points in nine straight games. In fact, neither had the Nashville Predators.

Kopitar and the Kings look to reach that feat for the first time in 29 years as they host the Predators on Saturday.

Los Angeles’ point streak (6-0-2) is its longest since going 6-0-0 with two ties from Nov. 2-18, 2000. A win or loss after regulation versus the Predators (6-7-1) would give the Kings (10-4-2) points in nine consecutive contests for the first time since Oct. 18-Nov. 5, 1980, when they went 9-0-0 with one tie.

Kopitar was born less than seven years later, and now he’s leading Los Angeles’ current surge. The former first round pick is having a breakout season with 13 goals and 13 assists.

The Kings and their star center now will try to take advantage of a matchup with Nashville, which entered the league 18 years after Los Angeles’ last nine-game point streak. The Predators have been shut out in two of their last three road games, including a 4-0 loss to Anaheim on Thursday night that dropped them to 3-4-1 on the road.

Los Angeles is 5-1-1 at Staples Center and coming off an outstanding performance there. The Kings rallied for a four-goal third period in a 5-2 win over defending champion Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Kopitar tied it with his second goal early in the third and Jarrett Stoll scored the go-ahead goal with 7:51 to play.

That gritty performance illustrates how high Los Angeles’ confidence is after six seasons out of the playoffs.

“Our maturity level is a lot higher,” said Kopitar, didn’t score his 13th goal last season until game No. 50. “We’re playing with a lot of desperation, and that’s a good thing. We were losing these kinds of games last year, going into the third period behind the champions. Now we’re sticking with it for 60 minutes and getting the right result.”

Kopitar and his linemates, Ryan Smyth(notes) and Justin Williams(notes), have totaled 48 points in 11 games together.

“We’re looking for that line to be an elite line in the game,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “When you have that kind of expectation on you (from) a coaching staff, then there is a need to respond, and I’m seeing a more consistent effort that shows (Kopitar) wants to be that player.”

Injuries, meanwhile, have forced Nashville to shuffle its lines.

Defenseman Shea Weber(notes), winger J.P. Dumont(notes) and rookie center Colin Wilson(notes) sat out against the Ducks because of injuries after playing in the Predators’ last game. Weber has a bruised foot, Dumont suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday’s practice and Wilson has a sore groin.

Their status for Saturday’s game is uncertain.

The Predators have also been without winger Martin Erat(notes) for the last three games due to a lower-body injury, but captain Jason Arnott(notes) returned to the lineup after missing six games because of arm and shoulder injuries.

Winger Jordin Tootoo(notes), meanwhile, made his season debut after missing 13 games due to a hip flexor injury. He was the 30th player Nashville has used, matching last season’s total.

Arnott took over for Weber as the point on the Predators’ power play, which went 0 for 5.

Nashville converted 35.7 percent (5 for 14) of its chances with the man advantage in going 4-0 against Los Angeles last season.

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Saturday, Nov 7