After a four-day hiatus from play, the Kings’ return to action came down to the final seconds in a tightly played contest tonight at Bridgestone Arena.
Unfortunately, the Nashville Predators landed tonight’s final blow.
In what was their final meeting of the season with the Predators tonight, the Kings came out fast from the start, pressuring Marek Mazanec with 11 shots in the first period – but with no scoring to show for their offensive pressure.
The Predators would score the opening frame’s only goal, as Patric Hornqvist snuck a rebound past Ben Scrivens with 6:18 left to play in the first period to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.
The Kings would even things out in the second period, executing on a man-advantage opportunity for the first time in their previous 11 tries.
Anze Kopitar sent home a laser of a wrist-shot from the point, scoring his 12th goal of the season, tying the game 1-1 with 12:55 remaining in the second period. Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty chipped in with assists.
Nashville would counter with a power play goal of their own early in the third period, as Mike Fisher took advantage of a botched Kings line change, skating in freely on Ben Scrivens to give the Predators a 2-1 lead with 13:18 left to play.
Down 2-1 with under a minute to play, Darryl Sutter pulled Ben Scrivens for an extra attacker. The strategy worked, as Jeff Carter sent home a beautiful pass from Anze Kopitar past Marek Mazanec for his 12th goal of the campaign with just :36.7 seconds left on the clock to tie the game 2-2.
10 seconds later, Nashville responded.
Mike Fisher, albeit it controversial, scored his second goal of the contest, and second goal of the period with :26.4 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Predators a 3-2 lead.
Fisher’s goal was reviewed, but the official’s call on the ice stood.
The Kings were short on time, and couldn’t respond to Nashville’s late magic. The Predators skated away with a 3-2 victory, snapping their six-game losing streak.
Ben Scrivens, who made his first start tonight since December 15 against the Chicago Blackhawks, was solid in the crease for the Kings. Scrivens stopped 28 of Nashville’s 31 shots.
The Kings went 1-2-0 against Nashville in their three meetings this season.
With a 25-10-4 record, which is good for 54 points, the Kings now sit at fourth-place in the Western Conference.
The Kings will continue their road-trip Monday night in Illinios, when they pay a visit to the United Center to face the Chicago Blackhawks at 5:00PM PT.