Los Angeles Hockey: Nashville Predators

Kings shut out by Rinne, Predators

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
8:22
PM PT


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season and Colin Wilson scored two goals to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

For the full story, click this link.

Kings lose to Preds after eight shootout rounds

January, 31, 2013
1/31/13
10:59
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Sergei Kostitsyn scored in the eighth shootout round, and the Nashville Predators snapped their three-game skid with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. Dustin Brown scored his first goal of the season for the Kings.

For the full story, click this link.

Kings: A watershed moment for Dustin Penner

March, 17, 2012
3/17/12
11:46
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- When it rains, it pours.

Dustin Penner has been stuck in a scoring drought since the day he arrived in L.A at the NHL trade deadline in February 2011. He received more publicity for his freak back injury earlier this season than anything he accomplished on the ice.

But the floodgates finally opened Saturday night at Staples Center, as Penner delivered the primary assist on the first goal and later scored the second, sparking a three-goal third-period barrage that lifted the Kings over the Nashville Predators, 4-2, for their fourth straight win.

The victory kept the Kings on the heels of Colorado and San Jose, both of whom also won Saturday, and leapfrogged them ahead of Calgary and into ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The Kings have the same number of points as the eighth-place Sharks, and are one point back of the seventh-place Avs and the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars.

“It’s a huge game,” Penner said. “It had a lot of meaning for us, with the way the standings are now, five teams separated by a point or two.”

Penner had not scored a goal in the last 13 games and had just seven goals in 73 regular-season appearances with the Kings, hardly the player who scored 32 for the Oilers in 2009-10 and had 21 with Edmonton before his trade last season.

After missing a game in early January after claiming he hurt his back while eating pancakes, his career might have hit a low point when he was designated as a healthy scratch for five games in February. He returned to the lineup only to continue struggling to find the net.

Playing left wing on the third line with Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll, Penner said he recently began to feel some chemistry with the pair and that was evident on both goals. Midway through the opening period, he and Lewis worked to free the puck in the corner and Penner passed it back to Anze Kopitar, who scored his third goal in three games on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle for a 1-0 lead.

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After the 2nd period:

Kings 1, Nashville Predators 1

The good: The Kings pretty much got outplayed in the second period, so getting into the second intermission without facing a deficit is a plus at this point. The third period should be as close to a playoff atmosphere as the fans will see at this point of the season. Jonathan Bernier continues to look sharp in just his 11th start in goal this season. He has been particularly effective with his puck-handling, something he’s always excelled at over No. 1 starter Jonathan Quick.

The bad: You give the No. 1 power-play unit in the league enough chances and they’ll make you pay. That’s what happened on Nashville’s third power play of the game, set up by the second cross-checking penalty of the period by Kings captain Dustin Brown. The Predators love to maintain possession as long as possible. They passed it around until Martin Erat saw some daylight and he beat Bernier from just inside the blue line to tie the score, 1-1, with 6:17 left in the period. The Kings were due for a power play of their own and they got one with 4:59 left in the second period but couldn’t capitalize. The power plays still favor the Predators, 3-1.

The in between: San Jose, which needs to lose for the Kings to have any chance of moving into the top eight, continues to lead Detroit, 2-1, heading into the second period.

Kings: First-period success continues with Kopitar goal

March, 17, 2012
3/17/12
8:30
PM PT
After the 1st period:

Kings 1, Nashville Predators 0

The good: The Kings continued their trend of strong starts, getting a goal from Anze Kopitar for an early lead. They’ve outscored their opponents, 7-0, in the opening period the last four games and 18-6 in the last 11, the most goals of any team in the NHL. Kopitar got on the ice just before his goal, taking the place of third-line center Jarret Stoll. His linemates, Trevor Lewis and Dustin Penner, remained on the ice while battling for the puck in the corner. Penner won the battle and passed to Kopitar in the right faceoff circle. He took a couple strides toward Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and picked out the top right corner with a swift left-handed wrist shot. The goal was similar to the one he score the night before in Anaheim, when he hit the top left corner to give the Kings a 2-0 first-period lead. The Kings showed they meant business from the start, taking seven shots at the Nashville goal in the first two minutes. Five were off target and one was blocked. Their momentum slowed when Stoll went to the penalty box 2:14 into the game for a marginal roughing penalty, but they picked up where they left off after killing the power play. Slava Voynov and Jeff Carter forced Rinne to make two great saves before Kopitar came through with his third goal in three games. At the halfway point of the opening period, the Kings had out-shot the Predators, 8-2. They finished with a 10-5 advantage.

The bad: One of the teams that started the day between the Kings and the final playoff spot was Colorado, and the Avalanche already won today, beating the New York Rangers, the top team in the Eastern Conference, 3-1, to move one spot up to seventh. The Kings can still move into eighth with a victory and any form of a loss by San Jose tonight against visiting Detroit. Unfortunately, the Sharks have taken a 2-1 lead over the Red Wings after the first period.

The in between: Kings coach Darryl Sutter made the decision to go with back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier tonight, just his 12th start in 72 games this season. Jonathan Quick played Friday night in the 4-2 victory in Anaheim, but the back-to-back games likely had less to do with Sutter's decision to start Bernier and more to do with Bernier’s record against the Predators. Bernier is 5-1-0 lifetime against Nashville, owning a 2.00 goals-against average. He doesn’t own more than two career victories against any other NHL team. Quick, on the other hand, is 1-4-0 in his career against the Predators with a 3.17 GAA. His only victory came 11 days ago, when he allowed four goals in a 5-4 victory in Nashville. Bernier wasn't tested much in the opening period, but that's probably because the Kings spent so much time in the offensive end.

Kings: Hoping to stay hot vs. Predators

March, 17, 2012
3/17/12
1:30
PM PT
Kings (34-25-12, 80 points) vs. Nashville Predators (41-21-8, 90 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. 71 down, 11 to go – The more the stakes rise, the better the Kings seem to be playing lately. They’ve won three straight games and seven of 10 since acquiring Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson. Better yet, they’ve scored 33 goals in those 10 games, much better than two-goal average they owned the first 61 games of the season. One game back of the final playoff spot heading into today, they can't afford to take a night off.

2. Streaking KingDustin Brown assisted on an empty-net goal by Mike Richards in the closing seconds of a 4-2 victory Friday night in Anaheim, setting a career high with at least a point in 10 consecutive games. The longest point streaks in the NHL this season are 12 by Eric Staal of Carolina and John Tavares of the Islanders. In case you’re wondering, the franchise record for the Kings is 25, shared by Wayne Gretzky (1990-91 season) and Bernie Nicholls(1984-85). Nicholls currently serves as an assistant coach with the Kings.

3. Young and hungry – Kings rookie forwards Dwight King and Jordan Nolan continue to contribute in ways that should keep them on the roster through the rest of the regular season. King had a team-high eight shots on goal against the Ducks, helping the Kings to a 43-20 advantage, and continues to fit in nicely on the second line with Carter and Richards. Nolan has settled into a fourth-line role with Colin Fraser and Kyle Clifford. He provided the screen that led to the first goal against Anaheim, a slap shot from the point by Alec Martinez.

4. Blue-line bonanza – Known for their mobile defensemen, the Kings received more than their share of contributions from the blue-line crew Friday night. Matt Greene matched his career-high with two assists, Drew Doughty also had two helpers and Martinez scored a goal, giving a defensemen a hand in every goal against the Ducks. Secondary scoring could be key against the Predators, who have the 10th-best defense in the league.

5. Power vs. power – The Predators continue to own the most efficient power-play unit in the league. They’ve scored on 21.4 percent of their man-advantage situations, including three power-play goals in the last three games. The Kings will match with the fourth-best penalty kill unit, which had its streak of 33 consecutive kills ended Friday night against Anaheim.

Kings: Offense feasts on Predators in 5-4 win

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
10:50
PM PT
Kings/PredatorsAP Photo/Mark HumphreyJustin Williams of the Kings scores the second of his two first-period goals in Nashville on Wednesday.
Kings 5, Nashville Predators 4

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Kings continued to display their scoring touch with five goals at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, giving them 13 in the last three games and 18 in the five games since acquiring Jeff Carter in a trade last week.

THE STAT: Kings right wing Justin Williams scored twice in the opening period to help the Kings to a 2-1 lead. It was the first time since Feb. 7 that the Predators had allowed more than one goal in the opening frame.

TURNING POINT: Kings defenseman Matt Greene and forward Trevor Lewis scored in the first three minutes of the third period to give the Kings a 5-3 lead and chase Nashville starting goalie Pekka Rinne in favor of Anders Lindback. That was all the cushion they would need.

HOT: Kings right wing Dustin Brown had an assist on Lewis’s goal to stretch his point streak to five games. Brown has five goals and four assists during the streak.

NOT: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick earned his first career victory against the Predators but gave up four goals on 26 shots. The third goal by Nashville was particularly bad, as a shot by Sergei Kostitsyn knuckled under his right armpit to tie the score, 3-3. Quick allowed a similar soft goal between his pads in the 4-2 victory Saturday night against the Ducks.

GOOD MOVE: The Kings took a 3-2 lead in the second period on a heads-up play by rookie forward Jordan Nolan, who paused with the puck in the right circle before feeding it to Drew Doughty in the high slot and the defenseman did the rest, shooting it past Rinne at the 9:16 mark.

BAD MOVE: Nashville forward Jordan Tootoo got a 10-minute misconduct after he was bumped by a referee and then pushed the official in the back.

NOTABLE: The Kings moved into eighth place in the Western Conference for a couple of hours following the victory. They dropped back to ninth after the San Jose Sharks earned a point after losing in a shootout against Edmonton Oilers, but remain in a three-way points tie with the Sharks and Colorado Avalanche.

UP NEXT: Thursday at Columbus, 4 p.m. PT.

Kings: Hoping to sing a new tune in Nashville

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
6:32
AM PT
Kings (30-23-12, 72 points) vs. Nashville Predators (38-20-7, 83 points) at Bridgestone Arena, 5 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. You again? – Yes, the Kings were just in Nashville eight days ago. No, the playoffs haven’t started already. In just another quirk in the NHL schedule, the Kings will face the Predators on their home turf for the second time in just over a week. The last meeting was an exercise in frustration, as the Kings had chance after chance but only converted one of 31 shots on goal in the 2-1 loss. The good news is the Kings have been converting against everyone else lately, scoring four goals in three of the last four games.

2. Who’s in 8th? – At the beginning of last week, the Kings were eyeing Phoenix as the team to catch for the eighth spot in the Western Conference, then the Coyotes got hot and it was Dallas they were after. Now the Stars are red hot and Phoenix has lost three straight to lose their grip on the Pacific Division lead. The team the Kings have the best chance of catching at the moment, however, is the San Jose Sharks, who’ve gone from Pacific Division leader to 2-7-1 in their last 10 games, leaving them clinging to the final playoff spot in the West. The Kings are one point behind the Sharks, who host last-place Edmonton on Tuesday. Anything less than two points for L.A. is a step back at this point.

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Kings: L.A. can't follow up in 2-1 loss to Preds

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
8:53
PM PT
Nashville Predators 2, Kings 1

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: Unable to build on their momentum from Saturday night’s shutout victory against the visiting Blackhawks, the Kings managed a late goal Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, but ultimately came up winless for the ninth time in their last 12 games.

THE STAT: The Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, traded for high-scoring forward Jeff Carter on Thursday, then went out and scored four goals in their victory against the Blackhawks two days later. They continued their trend of failing to follow up with a similar offensive effort, however. In the 13 games in which they’ve scored four or more goals this season, they’re averaging 1.7 goals the following game.

TURNING POINT: The Nashville front office sent a message earlier in the day that it's serious about making a Stanley Cup championship run this season, making a couple key trade-deadline acquisitions that should help the Predators get into the playoffs and beyond. Nashville played as if it wanted to return the favor and grabbed a 1-0 first-period lead on a goal by Roman Josi, improving to 26-2-3 when scoring first this season.

HOT: The Kings cut the deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Dustin Brown with 3:24 remaining in the game. It was the fourth goal in two games for the team captain, who was the object of wide-spread trade rumors late last week. Unfortunately for the Kings, they were unable to get even down the stretch.

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Kings: Not your ordinary day in Nashville

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
12:31
PM PT
Kings (28-22-12, 68 points) vs. Nashville Predators (36-19-7, 79 points) at Bridgestone Arena, 5 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Deadline day: Kings coach Darryl Sutter made it clear last week he wasn’t too pleased with the NHL schedule maker, who assigned them a road game the night of the trade deadline. As if the Kings don’t have enough to be concerned with on the ice, a few players probably experienced a restless night in Nashville wondering if they’d still be wearing the crown Monday night. Now two points out of the final playoff spot thanks to a late rally by Dallas on Sunday afternoon, the Kings will need all the focus they can muster for this game.

2. Repeat performance: The Kings emerged from their four-game losing streak to play one of their better games Saturday night, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-0, at Staples Center. The problem with the Kings this season, they haven’t been able to sustain any type of offensive momentum from one game to the next. Thirteen times this season they've have scored four or more goals in a game, but only twice have they followed up by scoring more than two the next game. One of those was a 5-4 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars.

3. On the road again: Newly acquired forward Jeff Carter barely unpacked his bags after getting traded to the Kings from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night and then making his debut against the Blackhawks. He’s back on the road for this mini two-game trip and will face a club that looks a lot more familiar than most other Western Conference teams. While playing in the same division as the Predators before the trade, he produced five goals and two assists in four games against Nashville, including a hat trick in his last meeting, a 6-5 loss on Dec. 22.

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Kings: Offense comes alive in 4-3 victory

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
11:45
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- If the Kings are going to improve on their results from the last two seasons, they’ll need to bottle up more performances like Tuesday night.

The offense received production from a variety of sources, some whom were long overdue, and the defense was strongest at the most critical moments, adding up to a 4-3 victory against the Nashville Predators at Staples Center.

The result ended a five-game losing streak for the Kings and brought some comfort back to the locker room. The offense had managed no more than two regulation goals in 12 of the previous 14 games.

“It was an important win for us,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored his first goal of the season early in the first period to give the Kings a 2-0 lead. “We really had to come out of that losing skid.”

Dustin Penner, likely the biggest object of scorn from Kings fans who had watched him tally only one assist in 12 games coming in, contributed two assists for his first multi-point game as a member of the Kings. Penner was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles last February and hasn’t come close to earning the $4.25 million the Kings are paying him this season.

“It was great to get this one out of the way and break that mental block,” he said.

Alec Martinez also scored his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Justin Williams and blasting it past Nashville goalie Anders Lindback for a 1-0 lead on the first of six power plays for the Kings.

“I thought we came out and played a real good first period,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “I liked the energy, I liked the compete, the tempo and the attitude that we started the game with.”

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Dave Joseph of 710 ESPN radio goes over the highlights of a 4-3 victory Tuesday night by the Kings against visiting Nashville, ending a five-game losing streak.

Kings end losing streak with 4-3 victory

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
10:07
PM PT
Los Angeles KingsKirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireKings defenseman Drew Doughty celebrates his first goal of the season with teammate Willie Mitchell.

LOS ANGELES -- Nashville couldn’t have arrived soon enough.

While the Kings have been struggling to score goals and win games for the last two weeks, they seem to have retained the formula for beating the Predators ... barely.

Alec Martinez, Drew Doughty, Mike Richards and Simon Gagne scored goals Tuesday night and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 shots to improve to 5-1 against Nashville in the 4-3 victory at Staples Center.

The victory ended a five-game losing streak for the Kings and may have pointed the team in the right direction again. They started the season 5-1-1 before dropping to 1-4-2 over their next seven games.

They also scored more than three goals for only the third time in 15 games this season.

Dustin Penner contributed two assists for his first multi-point game as a member of the Kings. Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll also had two assists. Stoll’s first assist came on a first-period goal by Martinez, which represented the 300th point of Stoll’s career.

Dustin Brown assisted on Richards’ goal to move into a tie with Steve Duchesne for 16th on the franchise points list.

The victory did not come without some bad news, however. Kings left wing Scott Parse left because of a lower-body injury and did not return. Parse missed most of last season after undergoing hip surgery. If he’s out for any significant period of time, look for the Kings to bring up skilled center Andrei Loktionov from Manchester.

Another streak that came to an end Tuesday night was a string of 23 consecutive sellouts for the Kings dating to last season.

More to come from the locker room.

Kings take control vs. Preds after two

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
9:31
PM PT
After the 2nd period:

Kings 4, Nashville Predators 2

The good: After a pedestrian start to the period, the Kings reclaimed their two-goal lead. The second line combined on the first goal midway through the period. A turnover in the neutral sent forwards Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner and Mike Richards off on a 3-on-2. Brown brought the puck down the left side and slid it to Richards on his right. Penner sucked the defense into the middle and Richards dropped to one knee and slapped a one-timer past Nashville goalie Anders Lindback for his third goal of the season and a 3-2 lead. One second after the Kings third power play of the game expired, Simon Gagne nudged a loose puck across the goal line for a 4-2 lead. Penner also assisted on the goal for his first multi-point game since Feb. 12 and first in 32 games with the Kings. Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll continue to be strong in the faceoff circle, combining to win 17 of 24 drops.

The bad: Another penalty in the opening seconds of the period, and again the guilty party was Stoll, who now as two assists and two penalties. To his defense, the referees also appear to be having a tough night making the right calls (or no calls). The Kings went the first eight minutes without a shot on goal and it appeared the game would be repeat of Monday’s effort against San Jose, when the Kings out-shot the Sharks, 14-7, in the opening period, only to get blown out, 21-7, in the second en route to getting outscored, 3-0 in the 4-2 loss. The Kings have 16 giveaways, led by Willie Mitchell with three.

The in between: Nashville lost leading scorer David Legwand to an upper-body injury during the first period and he’s not expected to return. Legwand has five goals and nine assists for a team-high 14 points.

Kings blow two-goal lead in 1st period vs. Preds

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
8:30
PM PT
After the 1st period:

Kings 2, Nashville Predators 2

The good: The Kings scored twice in the first 6 minutes 13 seconds to briefly put the crowd at ease and give backup goalie Jonathan Bernier a cushion to work with. He ended up needing it. Even better regarding the quick start, the goals came from two sources who were way overdue to hit the back of the net, defensemen Alec Martinez and Drew Doughty. Martinez got his on the power play, an area the Kings have been very successful this season. Justin Williams made a nice dot-to-dot pass to Martinez and he one-timed it past Nashville back-up goalie Anders Lindback. Jarret Stoll also received an assist on the play for his 300th career point. He didn’t waste any time getting his 301st, passing the puck out to the point where Doughty sent a blast that nicked the crossbar and hit the net for a 2-0 lead.

The bad: After taking the two-goal lead, the Kings played as if they reached their quota for the night. They’ve scored three or more goals in only four of 14 games this season, and two of those games they needed overtime to score a third goal. Midway through the period, Nashville got on the scoreboard after the Kings were unable to clear a loose puck in the slot. Nashville right wing Matt Halischuk got to it first and had a wide-open lane to beat Bernier up high. The Predators then tied it after Kings forward Simon Gagne went to the penalty box for a questionable interference penalty in the offensive zone and Craig Smith scored with 18 seconds left on the penalty.

The in between: For the fifth straight game, the Kings committed a minor penalty in the opening minutes and for the third time in that span, the penalty came in the opening seconds. This time, it was Stoll who was the offender, going off the ice for interference 25 seconds into the game. The Kings have been real good in the penalty-kill department as well and they killed off the man-advantage with relative ease. Just like Monday night in San Jose, the Kings out-played and out-shot their opponent (15-8), but don’t have a lead to show for it.

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