#24 Alexander Frolov.................................................. ....#6 Shea Weber
GAME PREVIEW (Associated Press)
The Los Angeles Kings have looked outstanding at times this season and punchless at others. The Nashville Predators were both things on Thursday night alone.
The Kings will look to build on their best effort of the season on Saturday night when they visit the Predators, who will be looking to rebound after a major meltdown in their last game.
Los Angeles (3-3-0) finished last in the Western Conference in 2007-08, then started this season by scoring one total goal while getting swept in a home-and home series by San Jose.
But the Kings have rebounded by winning three of their last four, and they looked like a different club on Friday night, when Jason LaBarbera made 15 saves for his third career shutout in a 4-0 victory at St. Louis.
The Kings outshot the Blues 29-15 as LaBarbera bounced back after getting pulled from his previous start, when he gave up four goals on 14 shots in a 4-3 loss to Colorado on Monday.
"It didn't seem like we gave them any room," LaBarbera said Friday. "We just looked really good tonight."
Nashville (3-4-0) was also impressive for more than half of its game on Thursday against Calgary, taking a 3-0 lead on a trio of second-period scores. But the Flames responded with five unanswered goals, including four in the final period, for a 5-3 victory.
"That one hurts because that is a game you've got to lock down," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We had several chances to lock it down and we didn't."
The Predators had won their first two home games of the season, but they've now lost three of their last four overall, allowing five or more goals in each of the three losses. Their 27 goals allowed this season are the second-most in the West, as goalie Dan Ellis' goals-against average has swelled to 3.25.
"We're going to have to put it behind us," defenseman Shea Weber said. "We've got a game Saturday and we can't afford to lose many games at home. We've got to play well on the road and win our games at home."
After Saturday, the Predators play nine of their next 12 games on the road, where they are 1-3-0 after going 18-18-5 last season.
The Kings and Predators were also inconsistent against each other in 2007-08, with each club going 2-2-0, including a 6-0 Los Angeles victory last Oct. 23 and a 7-0 Nashville win on Jan. 8.
LaBarbera shut the Predators out in the 6-0 victory, but he was pulled after allowing three goals in less than seven minutes of the 7-0 loss in his most recent outing against Nashville.
He's 2-3-0 with a 3.16 GAA all-time in the series, while Ellis also has a 3.16 GAA in four career appearances against the Kings.
The Kings are 10-5-0 with three ties all-time at Nashville, but they've won just twice in their last seven visits.
Marc-Andre Cliche (Separated shoulder on 10/06/08) IR
Richard Clune (Chest injury on 10/06/08) IR
Jack Johnson (Shoulder injury on 10/13/08) IR
John Zeiler (Strained groin on 10/03/08) IR
Jed Ortmeyer (Knee surgery recovery, blood clot leg on 09/20/08) IR
Steve Sullivan (Back surgery on 09/20/08) IR