Finally home, Kings look to improve against Predators

The Los Angeles Kings must feel as if they have no place to go but up heading into their home opener on Saturday afternoon against the Nashville Predators.

The Kings ended their season-opening three-game road trip at 1-2-0 after losing 8-2 to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick gave up a career-high eight goals on Wednesday and has allowed 14 goals on 56 shots in his two appearances this season.

"He, as well as everybody else, has to be better," Kings coach Todd McLellan told reporters afterward.

The Kings will be up against a Nashville team that's showing confidence in its offensive abilities after combining for 11 goals during a current two-game win streak.

The Predators already have goals from 12 players, none with more than four.

"Lot of depth," said center Ryan Johansen, who scored his first two goals of the season on Thursday night in a 6-5 win against the visiting Washington Capitals.

Johansen, who led Nashville with 64 points last season (14 goals, 50 assists), pointed to the fourth line of Daniel Carr, Kyle Turris and Craig Smith as examples of "top-end players" who have sacrificed the potential for more production for the betterment of the team.

Smith was third on the Predators with 21 goals last season, Turris led the Ottawa Senators with 27 goals three years ago, and Carr was the American Hockey League's Most Valuable Player last season after scoring 30 goals for the Chicago Wolves.

"The way our guys have been handling our team and the depth we have, it's been impressive and fun to watch," Johansen said. "Everyone is going out there and doing everything they can to be effective and we need that."

McLellan saw signs the Kings were headed in the right direction in a 4-3 overtime win at the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, even though Los Angeles gave up a three-goal lead during regulation.

All that progress unraveled 24 hours later in Vancouver when the Canucks surged to a 3-0 lead, then twice allowed the Kings to back within two, only to plaster them with four straight goals in the third period.

"I think you find out something about every individual each day, and they reveal themselves in certain situations," McLellan said. "We found something out about our group that has to be fixed, and we'll work towards fixing it."

Jack Campbell is waiting in the wings for Los Angeles if Quick's struggles continue much longer.

Quick is not alone with his slow start, as veterans Jeff Carter and Alec Martinez have no points and a minus-5 rating through three games.

McLellan wasn't ready to single anyone out, but he's clearly unhappy with certain individual performance.

"Our group's got a long, long way to go," he said. "Some of the players we've counted on, or we need to count on, have to play a lot better or they don't belong in the league, and we'll have to look at some individuals."

--Field Level Media
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