The Kings and Predators met at STAPLES Center on Monday night with a lot on the line for the Kings as they entered the contest trailing the Preds by five points in the standings, with Nashville and Edmonton locked in a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles opened the scoring and then battled back from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits, before falling to the Predators, 4-3.
"That’s a tough one," head coach Terry Murray said. "Starts good but when it comes down to making plays at critical times in the game, we don’t make the plays with the turnovers and the basic plays. The first goal we have possession of the puck, it’s actually a pretty simple play that we should be able to make, a simple breakout with lots of time to make the play and we don’t do it. It was the same as the winning goal."
Alexander Frolov extended his point streak to seven games (2-7=9). His career-high point streak is eight games...Dustin Brown has 29 assists this season, tying a career high set last season...Michal Handzus had his seventh multi-point game of the season. He has 15 goals this season. The last time he had that many was 2003-04 (20 goals). He was 18-for-25 on faceoffs tonight...Teddy Purcell now has seven points in his last eight games (3-4=7)...Anze Kopitar has points in seven of his last eight games (6-4=10)...The Kings are 25-for-27 on the penalty kill in the last six games (92.6 percent).
ON THE PREDS
Shea Weber extended his career high with his 19th goal of the season. His previous career high was 17, set in 2006-07...J.P. Dumont earned two assists on the first two Predators goals and has now scored 19-11=21 in 20 games against the Kings...Dumont has 3-13=16 in the last 13 games...Pekka Rinne is 13-3-1 since Feb. 1...Nashville is 11-4-0 vs. the Pacific Division...Sullivan has also played well against the Kings, scoring 8-19=27 for his career.
Scene in the crowd Monday night at STAPLES Center was Teddy Sears who stars on TNT’s "Raising the Bar," and Julie Benz, who stars on Showtime’s "Dexter." See pictures of all of the celebrities that frequent Kings games by visiting our Hockeywood section on LAKings.com.
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY
(Re: Lessons learned from this game): "I don’t want them to put this game behind them. There’s learning points in the season and this is real important here for us to understand what is going on, why things happen and decisions that we made as a team to probably give them momentum. That’s the puck management that we have talked about, I have talked about it from the start of the year that you have to do the right things through the middle of the ice and get the puck in the right position to have offensive opportunities."
KINGS FORWARD MICHAL HANDZUS:
(Re upcoming road trip): "We know we can do it. We did it when we went to the East Coast earlier in the year. We’ve got to get better. We didn’t play 60 minutes tonight, I think we played 30 minutes very well. Against those top teams we’ve got to play 60 minutes and we will get some points."
(Re: game recap) "We started well in the first and then they came back. When we were tied 3-3, we didn’t go after it. They started pushing back and we were on our heels. It wasn’t good enough."
KINGS FORWARD ANZE KOPITAR:
(Re game recap): "We got away from our game. We did a really good job chipping the puck into their zone and getting the fore-check going, we drew a lot of penalties off that too. Sometimes we just get too fancy and we got away. They created a turnover and they came right back into our zone and when you don’t get the puck and your legs get tired, you’re scrambling and they took advantage of it."
(Re: game recap) "That was a huge game for us. It puts us seven points out of eighth place. If we had won we would have been three points out."
NASHVILLE HEAD COACH BARRY TROTZ:
(Re: game recap):"The Kings came out in the first period and kept us on our heels. We were able to get our feet on the ground in the second period and got some momentum and started skating and playing a little bit more the way we can play. Center ice was little bit of a problem for us tonight."
(Re: Steve Sullivan): "He’s a good offensive player and smart. In the last couple of years we lost a lot of our guys and he really filled a void. Once he got 15-20 games into it he really has been an important ingredient for us."
(Re: Winning goal): "It was a good job by Dan Hamhuis. The puck was at his feet and he was trying to get it through. And Ryan Jones, what he does best around the crease area is finding those loose pucks. Jones was able to do that and it was a huge goal for us."
NASHVILLE FORWARD STEVE SULLIVAN:
(Re: Remainder of the season): "We have to try and scrape a point, we want to try to win every night, but our mentality is that we have to scrape points every night we can. Tonight was one of those games that just put us in a good position. Now we have two games left on this road trip, we’re trying to set ourselves up so that it doesn’t come down to game 82 and all of that pressure over one game. We don’t have an easy schedule so we want to play some solid hockey while we have these injuries. We’re going to see the Kings again. They are creeping in and they didn’t let themselves fall too far back. They’ve been playing some good hockey, but we knew we had to win this hockey game. We wanted to propel ourselves back into the playoffs and create some separation between us and them."