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Carter lifts Kings past Predators for seventh straight

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Carter didn't reveal any strategic secrets when asked about his breakaway move on Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

Carter could have unleashed one of his patented wrist shots but instead outwaited Rinne to score with 18 seconds left in overtime, giving the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win at Staples Center on Saturday.

Did Carter know what he was going to do?

"I can't tell you," he said.

It fell into place for Carter, who took an outlet pass from Drew Doughty down the left side, broke in across on Rinne, and lifted a shot into the net. It ended almost five minutes of exciting rushes and chances that belied the defensive styles of the teams.

"It's definitely exciting," Carter said of the 3-on-3 play. "The building got rocking. It's a lot of fun for us. A little nerve-wracking, but it's fun.

"I think the League got what they were looking for with trying to reduce the number of shootouts. It's been exciting. You can see the fans are right into it. It's back-and-forth. Me, personally, I like it."

The Kings (7-3-0) won their seventh straight, one shy of their last-season-high eight-game streak.

"Really, [Carter] had the whole ice in front of him," Doughty said. "The slowest guy on our team still would have gotten that breakaway. But he made the read. It's either going to be a goal going at our net, 3-on-1. He made the read to stay up there."

The Predators (7-2-1) fell one win short of matching their best 10-game start (2005-06) after taking a 2-1 lead.

"I liked the way our guys played," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "But it's tough to have a lead going into the third period. You want to be able to close that out. L.A.'s got a real good team. They're playing really well right now with a lot of confidence, so it was a good game. It just had to take overtime to decide."

Nashville tied it 3-3 when defenseman Ryan Ellis' slap shot beat Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick at 13:56 of the third period. The shot might have deflected off the stick of Kings defenseman Alec Martinez.

The Kings took a 3-2 lead in the third period on Tyler Toffoli's second goal of the game and Andy Andreoff's first goal of the season.

Toffoli finished a 2-on-1 with Trevor Lewis at 7:06 for his ninth goal of the season, tied for the NHL lead. Andreoff was left unmarked on the right side of the net to put in Jake Muzzin's rebound at 10:08.

Toffoli scored at 4:28 of the first period when he took a pass from Milan Lucic in the slot and used a backhand.

"He bears down on his opportunities," Carter said of linemate Toffoli. "He works hard to get them."

Nashville scored two power-play goals in 3:22 of the second period to take a 2-1 lead.

Shea Weber beat Quick with a one-timer at 16:15 after Martinez hooked Filip Forsberg. James Neal tied it 1-1 at 12:53 of the second with Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb serving a high-sticking penalty. Neal took the puck out of his skates and got a quick shot in the slot past Quick for his Predators-leading seventh goal.

The Kings had not allowed multiple power-play goals since the season opener.

Quick, who was 2-7-2 against Nashville, made 31 saves; Rinne made 25.

"Two good goalies tonight," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I think they challenged those position players. It's a team that Jonathan hasn't had a lot of success against, so it's good to see him get the win."

The combined six goals allowed in regulation wasn't typical of either team, but Rinne said the close game was indicative of both.

"We are similar teams, both are good defensively, but still have good forwards, good scoring and good power plays" he said. "It's a good matchup."

The Predators have not allowed a first-period goal in 10 straight games to open the season, two shy of the NHL record set by the 1974-75 Kings.

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