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Kings open up road trip versus Predators
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings start up a four-game road trip on Saturday night looking to avoid just their third loss of the month as they visit the Nashville Predators.
The Kings had a three-game winning streak halted with Monday's 5-2 setback to the Dallas Stars. It marked just Los Angeles' second defeat in 11 games in December and the first of Martin Jones' NHL career.
Jones went into the contest 8-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average, tying Bob Froese's NHL mark for consecutive games won to start a career.
The 23-year-old had not allowed more than two goals in any of his first eight starts, but gave up scores on the first two shots he faced Monday and yielded four in all on 23 shots.
"You can't spot them two goals early. It's pretty tough to win that way," said Jones, who failed to match Ray Emery's record of nine straight winning decisions to start a career done with Ottawa from 2002-03 to 2005-06 in 12 games.
Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll were the goal scorers for the Kings.
Los Angeles, which gave up a first-period goal for only the second time in the past 23 games, could have captain Dustin Brown back tonight after the forward sat out Monday's game due to illness.
The Predators hope to avoid what would be a season-high sixth straight loss tonight after falling to 0-4-1 in their last five with Friday night's 4-1 setback to the Dallas Stars.
Kevin Klein had the lone Preds goal, the defenseman's first of the season, and Carter Hutton yielded all four goals on 34 shots faced.
"We've been giving up a lot of early goals and tonight I can't blame the goaltender. Carter was pretty decent and our goaltending was adequate tonight," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "We needed some guys to snipe. We had (Stars goaltender Kari) Lehtonen down a couple of times and they didn't snipe."
Nashville also went 0-4-1 from Nov. 28-Dec. 7, then won three in a row before its current slump.
Hutton fell to 7-6-2 with a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage in 19 games (15 starts) this season and Trotz could go with Marek Mazanec tonight in the back end of games on consecutive nights. Mazanec, who has never faced the Kings, is 5-8-1 with a 2.73 GAA in 17 games this season, including 14 starts.
The Predators and Kings have split two meetings so far this season, with each team winning on the road. Los Angeles recorded a 2-1 shootout decision on Oct. 17, its fifth victory in the last seven trips to Nashville.
12/28 10:48:07 ET
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