Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Kings: Another win for the road
By Dan Arritt
Kings 4, Nashville Predators 2
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 30 shots at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and center Anze Kopitar scored a goal on the night he equaled the longest consecutive game stretch in franchise history.
THE STAT: The Kings swept a four-game road trip for the first time in franchise history and moved back into fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
TURNING POINT: The Kings took the lead for good 2 minutes 16 seconds into the second period as rookie defenseman Alec Martinez took a pass from Dustin Brown and blasted it into the net.
HOT: We’ve gone down this road a lot recently but Kopitar remains one of the hottest players in the NHL right now. He had a goal and an assist against the Predators to give him nine points in the last five games, 17 in the last 11 and 22 in the last 16. He was also a plus-three against Nashville, matching his highest rating of the season.
NOT: Michal Handzus had 16:17 of ice time but did not record any statistics. No points, hits, blocks or a shot on goal. Not even a missed shot on goal, for that matter.
GOOD MOVE: Kings coach Terry Murray seems to have elevated the play of his goalies, rotating them the last seven games to keep them fresh and mix in a little locker-room competition. Bernier came through against the Predators, two days after Jonathan Quick had a great game against Dallas.
BAD MOVE: The Kings just can’t seem to win the easy way anymore. They had a 3-1 lead but allowed a goal with 7:17 left in the game to give Nashville some life. Brown scored into an empty net with 1:02 remaining to end any thoughts of a comeback.
NOTABLE: Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum scored late in the first period for his second NHL goal. Blum, who grew up in Rancho Santa Margarita, was drafted by Nashville in the first round in 2007, the first player born and trained in Southern California to be selected in the first round of the NHL draft.
UP NEXT: Thursday vs. St. Louis Blues at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.