Troubled by a second period that saw them surrender three goals, the Kings didn’t have the time nor the adequate amount of offense to recover in their 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators Monday night at Bridgestone Arena.
In what could likely be a first-round playoff match-up, the Kings’ respectable comeback efforts were overshadowed by a second period that, in essence, dug a hole too big to trudge out of.
“The bottom line is, we can’t play a period like we did the second one tonight,” said Anze Kopitar. “We can’t take a period like that off.”
Following a scoreless opening frame, the Predators struck for three second period goals in a 7:44 minute span.
Jonathan Quick was pulled in favor of Jhonas Enroth to begin the third; Quick stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced. It likely had less to do with Quick’s performance and more to do with trying to ignite a spark on the bench.
“It’s one of those things where everyone’s trying to get going, and that’s one of the things the coaches usually do, is try to rattle the cage a little bit and pull the goalie,” Kopitar said. “So yeah, it could be, but it shouldn’t be the case with our team, we know better than that, we can’t rely on just the one period, the third period to come back and win games.”
The change in net did seem to provide some sort of edge, though.
Drew Doughty got the Kings on the board 32 seconds into the third when his slap shot from the point redirected off of Roman Josi’s stick and past Pekka Rinne to cut the Predators’ lead to two.
With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Kings got to within a goal when an Alec Martinez wrist shot found its way through traffic and past Nashville’s goaltender.
Nashville responded, though, when Ryan Johanson scored with 8:15 to play to give the Predators a two-goal lead.
Roman Josi scored an empty-netter with 29 seconds left to up the score to 5-2, the night's final tally.
The Kings finished their season series against the Predators with a 2-1-0 record.
Anze Kopitar (2A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez in shots taken (5), Jake Muzzin, Kyle Clifford and Alec Martinez in hits delivered (5), four different players in shots blocked (1), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (28:48). Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the loss, Jhonas Enroth 1.
The Kings will continue their three-game road trip Tuesday night when they take on the Minnesota Wild at the XCEL Energy Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 5:30 PM PST.