Posted with permission from The Sports Xchange
The Nashville Predators will try to continue their success at Staples Center when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
The Predators are 18-11-0-6 all-time against the Kings in Los Angeles, and have earned at least a point in the past seven games there (4-0-3). Nashville beat the Kings 4-3 in overtime at Staples Center on Nov. 4.
The Predators (23-11-6) have hit their roughest stretch of the season, however, and won't have leading scorer Filip Forsberg, who was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury last Saturday after leaving in the third period the night before against the Minnesota Wild.
Nashville has lost two in a row without Forsberg and is 2-4-2 in the past eight games to drop from a tie for first in the Western Conference heading into games on Dec. 17 to fifth entering Friday.
The Predators are hoping forwards Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson will pick up the scoring slack in their linemate's absence, but they haven't so far.
Other than an empty-net goal Saturday against the Wild, Arvidsson hasn't scored a goal in the past 10 games and has just two assists in that span.
"I think I need to take more control of my game," Arvidsson told the Tennessean after practice Friday. "I think that I need to work harder and win more puck battles. I feel like I've not been doing that last couple of weeks, and I feel like I can do a lot better. Someone needs to step up now when (Forsberg's) gone. I want to be that guy, for sure."
Johansen has gone without a goal the past five games.
"(Forsberg's) one of the best players in the league," Johansen said, "so obviously he's going to make me look like a better player and make (Arvidsson) look like a better player and make our line altogether better."
The Kings (24-12-5) have also cooled since their eight-game winning streak from Nov. 25 to Dec. 9, posting a 4-4-2 record in their past 10 games, but they reach the halfway point on pace for 106 points, which would have placed them in the top three in the West each of the past three seasons.
"We know that we've only gotten to a point where we've gotten ourselves in the middle of a battle for a playoff spot, and we've got an awful lot of work to do to fulfill that goal we set at the beginning of the year," Kings coach John Stevens told the team web site after practice on Friday. "At the midway point, we're happy with where we are in the standings, but I'll be honest with you: we've got lots of work to do as a team."
Tanner Pearson is off to a good start in 2018, recording four points (one goal, three assists) in the past two games.
Dustin Brown has three points (two goals, one assist) in the past two games, and his 15 goals in 41 games this season surpassed or equaled his goal total each of the past four seasons while playing at least 79 games.