Kings-Predators Preview

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.