Los Angeles Kings vs. Nashville Predators Pick & Prediction JANUARY 18th 2024

The Los Angeles Kings are hoping a return to familiar territory will help end their post-Christmas slide.

The Kings have lost nine of their past 10 games heading into Thursday night’s matchup against the visiting Nashville Predators.

The downturn for Los Angeles began with a 3-2 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 28, continued with three straight home losses and then followed the Kings on their six-game road trip, where they finished 1-3-2 after falling 5-1 to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

“Nothing’s going easy for us right now, and we’re going to come out of it, and then we’re going to be stronger for it,” Kings veteran forward Trevor Lewis said. “We’ve just got to keep fighting and keep working through it.”

Despite the negatives, there are plenty of positives to build on.

Phillip Danault has points in six consecutive games (two goals, six assists).

Trevor Moore continues his career-best season with three goals and two assists in the past five games. His 20 goals have already surpassed his career high of 17 in the 2021-22 season.

Anze Kopitar has 39 points at the halfway point of the season, putting the 36-year-old center on pace for his highest-scoring campaign since he had 92 points in 2017-18.

Quinton Byfield is up to 30 points in 41 games, nearly as many points as he totaled (32) in the past two seasons combined covering 93 games.

Lewis said it’s important for the Kings to maintain the structure they built during the preseason and honed through the first 31 games, when they started 20-7-4.

“When times get tough, you have to fall back to those and just kind of keep it simple,” he said. “Play to your identity and work through it.”

The Kings have yet to play the Predators this season, but will get familiar with them with three games over the next five weeks.

Nashville has avoided the type of downturn Los Angeles has taken in recent weeks. Its longest losing streak of the season was four games and ended in mid-November.

The Predators had won five of seven heading into their matchup on Monday against the Golden Knights, but lost the opener of the three-game road trip 4-1.

One of the bright spots for Nashville of late has been forward Luke Evangelista, who has scored in the past two games and has five goals in the past eight games.

“He’s got some good consistencies,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said. “He’s been playing better and better each night.”

Another player who’s turning heads for the Predators this season, especially from his opponents on the ice, is defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, who leads the NHL by a wide margin with 174 hits.

Lauzon has also established a career high with four goals in 44 games this season after totaling three in 67 games with Nashville as a rookie last season.

“I feel the confidence from the coaches and the organization,” Lauzon said. “Obviously, I’ve played more minutes, bigger and more important minutes in the games and on the PK. I haven’t missed a game this year, so it’s easier for me. I just feel that confidence, and play my game every night without that bad thought of maybe being scratched.”

–Field Level Media

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