It was evident very early that the Kings had another gear that the Predators couldn’t match on Saturday. Behind Ryan Smyth’s pair of goals, Los Angeles easily cruised to a 6-1 victory.
The Kings were clearly determined to make up for their ugly 6-4 loss in St. Louis on Thursday. They came out flying in the first period, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead. Justin Williams (0:15), Trevor Lewis (8:49) and Drew Doughty (9:59) all beat Anders Lindback, who was pulled with 10:01 remaining after facing nine shots; that allowed Mark Dekanich to make his NHL debut.
The Preds responded to the goaltending change quickly, just 24 seconds after the Kings went up by three. Steve Sullivan whacked in a loose puck from the low slot at 10:23. The Preds continued to pour scoring chances on Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, but couldn’t get the deficit within one.
At the 15:32 mark of the first, Smyth cashed in on the power play by batting in a puck in the air, extending the Los Angeles lead to 4-1.
Terry Murray’s crew continued to pile on in the second period. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored his third of the year, knocking in a rebound at 3:43. Later on in the period, Smyth got his second of the night as he batted another puck behind Dekanich to put L.A. up 6-1. The Kings dominated the period, out-shooting the Preds, 14-6.
Both teams seemed to go through the motions in the third period. Nashville had a couple power play chances but couldn’t convert. Los Angeles closed out the win with ease.
The win pushed Bernier’s record against Nashville to 3-0, giving up three goals in those games. He made 29 saves on this night.
Dekanich made 22 saves on 25 shots in his debut.
Barry Trotz on the game…
“I don’t have any excuses. Our guys have done a really good job in the last 10 games getting points; had a lot of games and collected a lot of points… the group deserves credit for that. One of these games happen once in a while. If we had a bunch of these lined up for a while there’d be concern.”
Shane O’Brien on the game…
“They jumped all over us. Obviously they knew we were coming off back-to-backs with some travel. It’s definitely not an excuse, but they had a good game-plan and we had some mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. It’s one of those nights… over an 82-game schedule, they’re going to end up happening every now and then.”
Ryan Suter on the game…
“(It was) just one of those nights. You don’t want it to be one of those nights; you have a good crowd out there and you want to win when you’re at home. They came out flying on the first shift and we never recovered.”
Coming into the game, the Preds had won eight of their last nine, but were also playing their fifth game in the last eight nights… so a letdown was certainly possible. The Kings had some bounces go their way and the game quickly got away from the Preds.
Trotz and company will look to get back on track against the Blackhawks next Wednesday in Chicago when they begin another back-to-back right before the holidays.