Los Angeles (38-20-4) at Nashville (34-23-5)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Nashville, TN
Temp: 34° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Thu Mar 4, 2010
  • TV: FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The 16-day break for the Olympics didn’t slow down the Los Angeles Kings. If recent history is any indication, they could have a tough time continuing their roll with the Nashville Predators up next.

The Kings try to end a five-game losing streak against the Predators on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Los Angeles (38-20-4) went into the break on a 10-1-1 tear and showed no signs of rust in a 5-1 victory at Dallas on Tuesday. Ryan Smyth(notes) and Anze Kopitar(notes) scored power-play goals, Drew Doughty(notes) had three assists and Jack Johnson(notes) added two for the Kings.

Coach Terry Murray chose to give plenty of ice time to Olympians Doughty and Johnson among his defensemen - something he plans to continue doing down the stretch.

“We want to play those guys a lot,” Murray told the Kings’ official Web site. “They’re big, young guys who are powerful, strong players and have an impact on every game. The plan is to go with those guys and ride them as hard as we possibly can.”

Doughty has six assists in his last four games after a strong tournament in Vancouver for Team Canada.

“I felt good out there. My job was to lead by example. Guys have been off for a while. So I did all I could to get off to a good start,” Doughty said.

Jonathan Quick(notes) didn’t see any action in the Olympics, but looked sharp Thursday with 31 saves. Quick went 11-1 with a 2.14 GAA in his last 12 starts.

“You get back to the rink and get into your routine and everything starts to feel natural,” Quick said. “I caught a couple of lucky breaks and got a lot of support from my team.”

With 80 points, the Kings have surpassed last season’s total of 79 as they try to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Team management helped that push at Wednesday’s trade deadline by acquiring a pair of veteran forwards who have plenty of postseason experience. The Kings got center Jeff Halpern(notes) from Tampa Bay for Teddy Purcell(notes) and a third-round pick, and they dealt a seventh-rounder to Columbus for forward Fredrik Modin(notes).

It’s possible Halpern and Modin will be in uniform Thursday as Los Angeles tries to end an 0-4-1 skid against Nashville (34-23-5), including a 3-1 home loss Nov. 7 in the most recent meeting.

Doughty will get a chance to catch up with fellow Team Canada defenseman Shea Weber(notes) of the Predators. Weber had a power-play goal in Nashville’s 4-3 home win over Edmonton on Tuesday.

“It’s good to be back,” Weber said. “I missed these guys having been away from them for two weeks. These guys are like my family so it’s really good to be back and to play these last 20 games.”

Denis Grebeshkov(notes) had a goal and an assist in his Predators debut against his former team, which traded him to Nashville the day before the game.

“I’m really glad that our team won tonight and that I helped them,” Grebeshkov said.

The Predators made another move shortly before Wednesday’s trade deadline, acquiring forward Dustin Boyd(notes) from Calgary for a fourth-round pick. Boyd had 19 points in 60 games for the Flames this season.

The Predators have scored a power-play goal in a season-high seven straight games, converting on 29.0 percent of their chances in that span. Patric Hornqvist(notes) and Steve Sullivan(notes) each have two power-play goals during the stretch.

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Thursday, Mar 4