The Nashville Predators were unable to maintain their recent success in the first of a three-game road stretch the last time out. Facing the struggling Los Angeles Kings could help get them back on track.
The Predators look to rebound from their first loss of 2008 and avenge an earlier loss at Los Angeles as the teams meet Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Nashville (20-19-2) had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss at Anaheim on Monday. The Predators, who led 1-0 after one period, allowed more goals in the second period (four) than they did during their recent winning run (three).
Though Nashville is 6-3-0 since losing five in a row, Monday's loss was the sixth in its last eight games on the road. The Predators suffered their worst road loss of the season Oct. 23, falling 6-0 at Los Angeles.
"Every game is huge for us right now," right wing J.P. Dumont told the Predators' official Web site. "We put ourselves in a situation where we don't have the luxury to let a few games go."
Monday, defenseman Marek Zidlicky had a goal and an assist, while Dumont tied a team record by extending his career-best goal streak to five games for Nashville, which scored nine goals in its previous two contests.
Chris Mason, who is 10-14-2 with a 3.09 goals-against average and hasn't started since a 5-2 loss to San Jose on Dec. 29, could get the nod Tuesday after Dan Ellis struggled versus the Ducks.
"We had a really strong first period, but I think they outmuscled us in the second period and we got thrown back on our heels," Ellis said.
Mason allowed four goals and suffered his first defeat in five starts against Los Angeles in October.
Jason Arnott, who had an assist Monday, had three goals and an assist in the Predators' 4-3 home win over the Kings on Dec. 22.
Los Angeles (15-26-2) lost 6-4 at home to Calgary on Saturday for its second straight defeat and fell to 1-2-0 on its season-high six-game homestand.
The loss was the Kings' 10th in their last 13 contests, and their number of wins after 43 games is their fewest since they had 13 during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. Los Angeles, which has allowed 10 goals in its last two contests after giving up five during a three-game winning streak, has an NHL-worst 32 points.
"I don't think we're playing like we want to win right now," Kings captain Rob Blake said. "We're at the bottom of the league for a reason."
Saturday, Alexander Frolov had a goal with two assists, while Ladislav Nagy also scored for Los Angeles. Nagy has a goal and three assists versus Nashville this season.
Though Jason LaBarbera posted his second career shutout in the teams' first meeting, he allowed five goals against Calgary and was also in net for the Kings' loss to the Predators last month.
The teams conclude their season series March 13 at Nashville.