Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 10 vs. Nashville, October 31, 2015, 1pm PST
It is the scariest day of the year, but for the Los Angeles Kings, their recent play has been anything but. Their opponents and skeptics alike, however, would tend to disagree as the Kings went from a dreadful 0-3-0 start to reeling off six-straight wins. On Saturday, the silver-and-black will hope to make it seven-in-a-row when they play host to the 7-1-1 Nashville Predators for a Halloween matinee.
With their torrid start to the season, the visiting Predators will be, to date, the Kings’ toughest opponent this season. If that is bad news for the silver-and-black, then the good news would be that they only face the Preds three times this season and not again until February. But these Kings have proven thus far that they are not intimated by hot clubs. They picked their first win of the year a couple of weeks ago against a then-unbeaten Minnesota Wild club before beating an up-and-coming Oilers team and a formidable Jets squad. Their matchup with the Predators should not be a reason to change their gameplan.
Still, the Predators are 7-1-1 for good reason. Forward James Neal leads the club with six goals and nine points while Mike Ribeiro, Roman Josi and sophomore Filip Forsberg are in a three-way tie for second in team-scoring with six points. The Preds also have one of the league’s top defensemen in Shea Weber and an already-established young blueliner in Seth Jones.
In goal, though, is where the Predators shine most.
As if his towering 6-foot-4 size wasn’t enough to strike fear in the opposition, netminder Pekka Rinne is sporting a 6-1-1 record thus far with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. But the Kings have a superb goaltender on their end, too.
Jonathan Quick is 5-3-0 on the year with a 2.00 GAA and a .928 save percentage. While those numbers are only decent next to those of Rinne’s, Quick has been on fire in his last five outings, going 5-0-0 with a 0.99 GAA and a .966 save percentage.
As impressive as his recent numbers have been, though, Quick has struggled against the Predators in his career, going 2-7-2 against them while posting a 2.93 GAA and an underwhelming save percentage of .883. Head coach Darryl Sutter may want to start to Jhonas Enroth instead, but there is no better time than the present to change one’s luck against a certain team.
To help Quick’s case even more, his defensive corps has gotten better with each passing game. From blocking a key shot to clearing the puck in a timely manner, it is safe to say that No. 32 has his bases covered. But up front, the Kings are also clicking with one line in particular making a ton of noise.
The trio of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Milan Lucic have been on fire as of late. While Lucic enters Saturday’s contest riding a four-game point streak. Toffoli, who leads the Kings in goals with seven, has scored tallies in five of his last six outings. Jeff Carter, meanwhile, has scored three goals in his last two games.
While they generally aren’t notorious for afternoon-game success, Saturday marks the first matinee game for the Kings this season as STAPLES Center will be rocking nonetheless. On Halloween, the home fans hope for anything but a scary ending as they are determined to see their Kings close out October on a high note.
Enjoy the game!