The Predators left San Jose with a shootout loss against the Sharks and came into Los Angeles, hoping to knock out the Kings, who are currently sitting in fourth place in the Pacific Division. Unfortunately for the Predators, like the Sharks, the Kings are desperate and hungry for a playoff spot. With Colorado, San Jose, and L.A. all bouncing around the last playoff spot, the Predators would have to come out strong and physical against the Kings to knock them down a notch. However, the Kings weren’t backing down. Here are the highlights from Saturday night’s game in Los Angeles:
- As expected, Kevin Klein returned to the lineup after sitting on the scratched list for a few weeks due to an upper body injury. Colin Wilson, Roman Josi, Brian McGrattan, Jack Maclellan, and (unfortunately) Paul Gaustad rounded out the scratched list.
- The Kings took a bite out the Predators at 7:53 in the first with a snap shot past Pekka Rinne from Anze Kopitar (his 23rd goal of the season). Kopitar’s goal would be the only goal during the 1st Period, with L.A. cranking out 10 shots on goal and Nashville only taking 5.
- The Predators would tie it at one with a power play goal from Martin Erat at 13:43 in the 2nd for his 18th goal of the season. Marty’s slap shot past Jonathan Bernier was assisted by Ryan Suter (35th assist) and Shea Weber (28th assist).
- The Kings came out on fire during the 3rd Period, pressuring Pekka and the net with three goals at 8:04, 13:02, and 16:19. L.A.’s first goal was a tip-in by Dustin Penner for his 6th goal of the season. The second goal was snared by Dwight King, his 4th goal of the season. The third goal was sealed by Kyle Clifford for his 5th goal of the season.
- Mike Fisher would attempt to regain composure for the Predators at 17:18 with a backhanded goal for his 22nd goal of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to derail the Kings’ momentum. Fisher’s goal was assisted by Kevin Klein (12th assist) and Martin Erat (37th assist).
- Pekka Rinne took a beating Saturday night, although he did block 23 of 27 shots taken at him and the net. It was cracks in the Predators defense that the Kings took advantage of, knocking the Nashville team on their butts during the third period. The Predators were able to snag a power play goal and managed to stay away from the penalty box, minus three times. Here are the three culprits:
- Jordin Tootoo – 15:01 2nd Period – Interference
- Jack Hillen – 2:02 3rd Period – Hi-Sticking
- Brandon Yip – 18:21 3rd Period – Holding
It was clear the Predators did not expect the L.A. Kings to come tearing onto the ice as maniacally as they did during the third period, thus resulting in the 4-2 loss in regulation. The Predators have no time to sulk in misery, though; They will cross the street (basically) into Anaheim to face the Ducks on Sunday. The Predators have muscled-over the Ducks all season, so a final win would boost the team as they return to Nashville on Tuesday. After a nasty loss like tonight, the Predators will have to put forth an effort that, although the Ducks aren’t contenders, they can’t be overlooked.
The puck drops in Anaheim at 7PM.
(Photo credit of: Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)