Kings-Predators Preview

The Associated Press

In their first game together, three newcomers helped the Nashville Predators match their road win total from all of last month.

The Predators were taking care of business at home long before Andrei Kostitsyn, Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill arrived.

Nashville looks to extend its home point streak to a franchise record-tying 13 games Tuesday night when Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter will try help his new team continue its recent scoring surge.

With Kostitsyn, Gaustad and Gill on the ice Saturday following separate deals last month, Nashville (38-20-7) won 3-1 at Southeast Division-leading Florida. The team went 1-4-1 away from home in February.

Gill, a former Montreal Canadian, and Gaustad - playing his first game since being acquired from Buffalo - set up Kostitsyn's 100th career goal on Saturday. Kostitsyn, in his second contest since a deadline deal with Montreal, added an assist on David Legwand's third-period score.

"That's three really good additions to our already good team,'' said Pekka Rinne, who finished with 39 saves.

While continued production from that trio could provide a nice boost for a team featuring nine players with at least 30 points, Rinne's play in net could determine if the club can catch St. Louis and Detroit in the Central Division and move up from the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.

The Finn leads the league with 36 wins - one shy of breaking the single-season team mark set by Tomas Vokoun in 2005-06.

"Pekka Rinne earns his keep every time he goes out," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said.

That's especially true at home, where he's 10-0-2 with a 1.73 goals-against average during the Predators' home point streak. He stopped 20 shots in Nashville's last game at Bridgestone Arena, a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Feb. 27.

Rinne will likely be in net as the Predators try to equal the 13-game point streak record set Dec. 13, 2003-Jan. 31, 2004. That run included three ties.

The Kings (30-23-12) will try to end Nashville's current surge as they open a potentially pivotal four-game trip.

Tied with Colorado with 72 points and just one back of eighth-place San Jose in the West, Los Angeles goes for a third straight victory following Saturday's 4-2 win over Anaheim on Saturday.

Carter found the back of the net twice for his first points in four games since being acquired from league-worst Columbus on Feb. 23.

The Kings have the second-fewest goals in the NHL with 138, but they've scored 13 while winning three times since Carter's arrival.

"You look up and down the roster, and there's guys on every line here that can put the puck in the net," Carter said.

Captain Dustin Brown is one goal shy of reaching 20 for the fifth straight season after netting a team-high five with three assists in the last four games.

He has three goals and eight points while scoring in five of six versus Nashville.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter could give backup Jonathan Bernier the nod Tuesday. Bernier, who stopped 27 shots in a 4-3 home win over Nashville on Nov. 8, is 5-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA in six starts in this series.

Jonathan Quick made 26 saves in Los Angeles' last trip to Nashville, falling to 0-4-1 with a 3.00 GAA in five starts against the Predators.

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