Patric Hornqvist had two goals and Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn each had a goal and two assists to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday night. Marek Svatos had his first goal in the NHL and Shea Weber and Ryan Suter each had two assists during Nashville’s offensive outburst.
The Kings had gone ahead 2-0 in the second period before the Preds scored five unanswered goals for their fourth win in a row. The loss extended the Kings losing streak to five games.
Coming into the game it would have appeared that Jonathan Bernier would have the upper hand in goal having gone 3-0 against Nashville while stopping 88 of 90 shots for a .978 save % and a 0.67 GAA. On the other side, Anders Lindback’s only appearance against the Kings resulted in him being pulled in a 6-1 loss in Nashville last month.
After a perfect first period, where Bernier stopped 11 Preds’ shots, he gave up five goals on 17 Nashville shots. In claiming the victory, Lindback stopped 24 of 26 Kings shots to pick up his tenth win of the year.
The win gave Nashville 48 points in 40 games and moved them into fourth place in the competitive Western Conference and a point ahead of San Jose who will be their next opponent.
Surprisingly, after playing in Anaheim last night in a grueling contest, when the game started the Predators seemed to have more energy than the Kings who had been off for three days.
At 10:33 in the first period, the Kings went on the power play after Hornqvist was called for interference after he retaliated against Dustin Brown after Brown had hit Shea Weber in the head with his shoulder. The Preds’ penalty kill held the Kings to two shots and no goals.
The period ended with a flurry at both ends with a pair of rushes for each team. The Kings out shot the Preds, 12-11, in a highly offensive period that ended with no goals.
The Kings broke through with a goal 2:16 into the second period when Marco Sturm came in on Lindback’s right side and the big goalie gave up a rebound to Clifford who was trailing on the opposite side and had an empty side to shoot at. Then, the Kings went on the power play at 6:13 when Francis Bouillon was called for interference on Brown. As time on the man advantage was winding down at 7:57, Stoll scored on a stick-less Lindback to put the Kings ahead 2-0.
The Preds went on the man advantage at 8:16 and Wilson scored his 10th goal of the year at 8:57 when he took a great pass from Suter and redirected it past Bernier into the Kings net to cut the lead to 2-1. At 10:19, Wilson fired a shot from the top of the right circle that rebounded off Bernier to a diving Svatos, who knocked it in for his first goal as a Predator to tie the game 2-2.
Jerred Smithson drew an interference call from Matt Green at 13:18, to put the Preds on a power play. Wilson fired another shot at the net at 14:28 that was tipped in by Hornqvist to give the Preds their third goal in 5:31 minutes and a 3-2 lead. Off of a faceoff at 14:42, Bouillon picked the wrong partner to scrap with in Wayne Simmonds and it was a mismatch where “The Cube” left the ice with a bloody face. Both received five for fighting.
In the lively second period, the Preds out shot the Kings, 10-6, during the middle stanza.
There was plenty of back and forth play early in the third period.
On a rush at 9:10, Kostitsyn snapped a wrister from the right circle the slipped through Bernier’s five hole to give Nashville a 4-2 lead.
The Predators did not let up. At 15:33, the Preds retrieved a puck that had hit Jarret Stoll in the face and took it down the ice where Weber gave the puck to Hornqvist who got his second goal of the game. In the final period, the Kings out shot Nashville 8-7 but the Preds led 28-26 for the contest. The Predators were 2-for-3 on the power play and allowed one goal on two penalty kills.
The injuries keep piling up for the Predators. Nick Spaling left the game with 1:17 left in the opening period and did not return. It was reported to be an upper body injury. Both Kostitsyn and J. P. Dumont also spent time in the dressing room with injuries but both were able to return.
Preds Coach Barry Trotz, moved into sixth place by himself on the all-time wins with one team list with the victory. It was his 432nd win with the Preds and he passed Dick Irwin who had 431 wins with the Montreal Canadians between 1940 and 1955.
The Predators will remain in Los Angeles tonight and travel to San Jose on Friday where they will play the Sharks at HP Pavillion on Saturday night in a special 7 p.m. Central start time.