The Nashville Predators continue to produce a lot of points without a lot of shots.
The Predators, who entered Thursday night last in the NHL with an average of 21.8 shots per game, managed only 14 against Los Angeles. But Gabriel Bourque scored in the first period and Colin Wilson had a pair of goals in the second as Nashville beat Los Angeles 3-0.
Pekka Rinne stopped all 32 shots by the Kings for his first shutout of the season as Nashville (5-2-3) won its fourth in a row, a span in which they've allowed just three goals. Jonathan Quick made 11 saves for the Kings, who've lost two of three on their five-game road trip.
"They're a tough team to chase when you're behind," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "They box you out pretty well. Their goaltender's obviously one of the best. Sometimes you can say you didn't get the breaks, but I don't think that was the case tonight. We just didn't deserve it."
It was the first game back at Bridgestone Arena for the Predators after a six-game road trip that included a 2-1 shootout victory at Los Angeles a week earlier. It was also the ninth time in 10 games that Nashville has been outshot.
"This was a game that I had a lot of concern with," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "When you go on long road trips, every coach will tell you there is a fear the first game back."
Bourque gave Rinne all the support he needed when he scored his second goal of the season, beating Quick just 2:54 into the game. He converted a feed from David Legwand to put the Kings in a quick hole and make the defending Stanley Cup champs play catch-up.
"They're a hard-working team. We didn't match their compete [level] in the first, and that was ultimately the difference in the game," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "It's similar to the Anaheim game [a 7-4 loss last Saturday]. We have to get to another level as a group. It starts with individual preparation."
After outshooting the Predators 8-7 in the opening 20 minutes, the Kings poured it on in the second period, outshooting Nashville 20-5 -- but two of the Predators' shots found the back of the net. Wilson made it 2-0 at 7:01, tapping in a feed from Kevin Klein, then added a power-play goal at 13:02 by knocking home the rebound of Shea Weber's shot.
"I just turned and saw that I had a bit of space," Wilson said. "I knew that it was going to be a fight in front of the net, and the puck just went on my stick. I am grateful for that."
Weber, who signed a 14-year contract with the Predators during the summer, earned his first point in 11 games this season.
After facing 20 shots in the second period, Rinne saw just four in the third.
"The last few games, I think we have been doing a really good job defensively," Rinne said. "For me, it is way easier for me to control my rebounds, and if I leave a rebound laying around, they are always there for me to save my butt."
The Predators had great success making the Kings shoot from the perimeter and letting Rinne see the puck.
"I think that's their M.O. as a team," Brown said. "Again, that comes back to competing and willing to be a bulldog in the dirty areas and driving the net. There were instances of that, but it really needs to happen on a consistent basis, especially against a team like this."
Material from team media was used in this report
|Rich Clune Fighting (maj) against Kyle Clifford|
|Kyle Clifford Fighting (maj) against Rich Clune|
|Kyle Clifford Tripping against Roman Josi|
|Justin Williams Roughing against Colin Wilson|
|Martin Erat Interference on goalkeeper against Jonathan Quick|
|Paul Gaustad Roughing against Dustin Brown|
|Jarret Stoll Holding against Hal Gill|
|Mike Fisher Roughing against Jordan Nolan|