Kings-Predators Preview


The Los Angeles Kings probably weren't eager to trade Dustin Brown following his most recent display, and the captain will still be around for Monday night's road matchup against the Nashville Predators.

Los Angeles (28-22-12), averaging a league-worst 2.08 goals per game, acquired center Jeff Carter from Columbus on Thursday in an attempt to bolster its offense. While Carter failed to get on the scoresheet during his Kings debut Saturday, Brown certainly made his case to stick around in Los Angeles.

Brown recorded a hat trick and notched an assist to match a career high with four points to help Los Angeles snap an 0-3-1 skid with a 4-0 victory over Chicago.

"Things went well for me (Saturday), and I hope to build on it," said Brown, whose three goals matched his total from his previous 17 games. "I think we've been struggling as a team. I've been struggling personally to score goals, and it definitely felt good to score some goals."

Despite Brown's tremendous performance versus the Blackhawks, he was rumored to be involved in trade talks, but Monday's deadline passed without a deal.

"I've been a King my whole career, and I expect to be a King beyond the next few days," he said. "With all the rumors flying around, it's my responsibility to prepare myself to be the best I can. (Saturday) I felt good."

The Kings could benefit from having Brown on Monday given his recent success in this series. Brown has tallied two goals and five assists to help Los Angeles take five of the last six meetings with Nashville (36-19-7).

The Predators made multiple potentially significant moves of their own Monday, acquiring winger Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal and reuniting him with brother Sergei, whom he played with from 2007-10. They also added defensive-minded center Paul Gaustad from Buffalo in exchange for a first-round pick.

Andrei Kostitsyn had 12 goals and 12 assists in 53 games with the Canadiens, but hadn't produced a point in his last nine contests. The 6-foot-5 Gaustad, meanwhile, should add size and toughness up front. Both figure to join Nashville on Tuesday in Raleigh.

While the Predators sit comfortably in fifth place in the Western Conference with 79 points, the Kings remain on the outside of the playoff picture, two points behind Dallas for the eighth and final berth.

Nashville improved to 3-0-1 in its last four games after Saturday's 6-2 home win over San Jose. Captain Shea Weber scored twice while forwards Colin Wilson and Martin Erat each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who were outshot 34-21 but cruised to the win after a three-goal first period.

"It was nice obviously to start out and get the lead and play with the lead all night," center David Legwand told the team's official website. " ... Pekka (Rinne) stood strong in the third. We didn't have very many shots but we've got to do a better job at that. Every game there's going to be something to get better at."

Rinne has been superb of late, going 15-2-3 with a 1.88 goals-against average since Jan. 7.

Rinne has started each of Nashville's last 11 home games, during which it's gone 9-0-2. The Predators haven't recorded points in 12 consecutive home games since Oct. 14-Dec. 16, 2006.

However, Rinne has compiled a 3.65 GAA while losing three straight matchups with the Kings, though he hasn't faced them this season. Anders Lindback was in net for a 4-3 loss at Los Angeles on Nov. 8.

The Kings' Jonathan Quick made 19 saves Saturday to earn his seventh shutout, tied for the league lead. Quick is 0-3-1 with a 3.24 GAA against Nashville, the only Western Conference club besides Los Angeles that he has never defeated.

Los Angeles visits Bridgestone Arena again March 6 before concluding the season series at home 11 days later.