Preview: Kings at Predators (3/30)

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Game Time: 7:00 pm Central

TV: FSN

Radio: 104.5 The Zone (WGFX-FM)

Records:
Nashville: 44-27-6 (94)
Los Angeles: 42-27-6 (90)

Season Series:
11/7/09 - NSH 3 – LAK 1
3/4/10 – LAK 2 - NSH 4
3/14/10 – NSH 3 – LAK 2

Are they saying “Boo” or “Boo-ernier?”: The Kings have called up Jonathan Bernier from Manchester to play in goal against the Predators. This will mark Bernier’s second start of the season, the last being a 2-1 shootout win against Dallas. His lone appearance this season was drastically different from his only previous NHL experience in 2007-08 when he let in 16 goals in just 4 games. In Manchester this season, he is second in the league with a 2.07 GAA, first with a 0.936 save percentage, third with 29 wins, and first with 8 shutouts.

Legwand-O-Meter Reset: It was a long time coming, but David Legwand finally scored his 11th goal of the season, ending a career-long drought of 34 games on assists from Colin Wilson and Shea Weber. It was also Legwand’s first goal on a goalie since December 31 of last year. Aside from Wade Belak, whose current goalless streak stands at 142 (and whose last goal was against Dan Ellis, and Nick Spaling, who has not registered a goal while being shifted back and forth between Nashville and Milwaukee, no current Predator forward has a scoring drought of more than 12 games.

Regicide: Going into Tuesday’s game, the Kings have not recorded a win against the Predators in over two years. The Kings’ last win against Nashville was a 4-1 triumph on March 13, 2008, in the then-Sommet Center. The Preds’ current total win streak over the Kings stands at 7. Prior to the lockout in 2004-05, the Predators played the Kings 24 times, winning just 6 games. If you throw out the first season where the Predators won 3 times, it means that in a 20 game stretch, the Predators only managed to beat the Kings 3 times. In the 23 games since the lockout, however, the Predators have beaten the Kings 14 times.

Magic Number: With the victory over Florida, the Predators’ magic number to guarantee a playoff spot dropped to 4 points. In other words, if the Predators pick up 4 points over the final 5 games of the season, there is no way that they can drop beyond 8th place. While NashvillePredators.com has reported the Magic Number as 3, this for the large part false. If the Predators pick up only 3 more points and they happen to be from overtime games and the Flames win out, each team would be tied at 97 points. The first tie breaker would be wins. If the Flames win out and the Predators go 0-2-3, both teams would be tied at 44 wins. The next tiebreaker is the team with the greater amount of points in the season series, yet both teams earned 4 points this season. Thus, the final tiebreaker would be goal differential. The Predators current goal differential is +2 while the Flames goal differential is +1. Should the Predators go 0-2-3 in the final 5 games, the goal differential would be at least -3, you have to  while the Flames’ would be at least +7 if they win out. Thus, 4 – and not 3 – is the Magic Number.

Quest for 50: Martin Erat was the leading scorer heading into Monday night’s game with 48 points, but he didn’t make the trip. Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist did, however. Sullivan had the first assist on Hornqvist’s second period goal, moving both into a three-way tie for the team scoring lead with Martin Erat. Sullivan then had the second assist on Francis Bouillon’s game-winner, netting him the solo team lead with 49 points. Sullivan needs just one point to reach the 50 point barrier, while Erat and Hornqvist need just 2.

Dirty Thirty: With Patric Hornqvist’s second period goal, he became just the fourth player in franchise history to score 30 goals in a single season. He is now just four Jason Arnott hat tricks away from setting the franchise record. Not bad for the last overall pick in the 2005 draft.

A Brief Note to Game Ops: The Kings are a California team. The home team is the Nashville Predators. Thus, do not show the video of the Governor of California heading off to kill the Predator.

Get Outta My House: Seriously, why was Thrash there on Saturday?

Quick Notes: The Predators can clinch a playoff berth if they win tonight and the Flames lose tomorrow night…The Predators have been to overtime in their last three games…Dan Ellis’ win on Monday night was his fourth straight against an Eastern Conference opponent…Joel Ward will probably return tonight, but, Erat and Arnott will most likely sit again…For real-time tweets during the game, be sure to follow us at @cellblock303 and, to join in on the conversation, be sure to tweet along with us by following @PredFans.