The first-place Los Angeles Kings will shoot for a fourth straight victory when they host the struggling Nashville Predators tonight at Staples Center.
The Kings, who are leading both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference with 18 points, have recorded victories in eight of their last 10 contests.
Los Angeles used an excellent defensive performance to notch its latest victory in Thursday's home test against Tampa Bay. Justin Williams scored the only goal of the game and Jonathan Quick stopped all 24 shots he faced in the Kings' 1-0 decision.
Ryan Smyth set up the game-winning tally for the Kings, while Quick improved to 8-1-0 on the season with his ninth career shutout. The game also marked the return of star defenseman Drew Doughty, who had missed the previous six games with a concussion.
"It's a team effort. You just look at the way we played tonight, it's one of the top offenses in the league and they didn't get too many quality scoring chances," Quick said. "We were extremely responsible in the defensive zone and we were smart and didn't take too many penalties."
The Kings, who are playing the third test of a five-game homestand tonight, are 5-0-0 as the hosts this season. It's the first time LA has won its first five home games of a campaign since 1980-81, when the Kings were 7-0 as the hosts.
The Predators, meanwhile, have lost their last three games in regulation after beginning the year with a 5-0-3 mark. Barry Trotz's club is also 0-2 so far on a five-game road trip that will take Nashville to Anaheim and St. Louis after tonight. The Predators are 3-2-0 overall as the visiting team this year.
Nashville was burned by Ed Jovanovski and the Coyotes on Wednesday night, as the veteran defenseman notched the first hat trick of his career in the 4-3 win over the Preds.
Patric Hornqvist, Francis Bouillon and Sergei Kostitsyn each had a goal for the Predators. Pekka Rinne was tagged with all four goals on 28 shots in the loss.
The Preds were 1-for-5 on the power play and allowed Phoenix to score twice on three opportunities with the man advantage.
"We take a penalty and they tie it up then get another power-play goal and take the lead," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "It was a tough night, especially for the special teams."
Nashville forward Martin Erat is questionable for tonight after sitting out the last game with an upper-body injury.
The Preds won three out of four meetings with LA last year and has taken nine of 11 and 12 of 16 overall in the series. Nashville has also claimed five straight and seven of its last eight games at the Staples Center.