LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ian Laperriere's second consecutive two-goal game was
overshadowed by the job he and his linemates did to cool off Steve Sullivan and
the Nashville Predators.
Cristobal Huet made 21 saves for his fourth career shutout as the Kings
ended Nashville's three-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory Monday night.
Michael Cammalleri also scored and Eric Belanger had two assists for the
Kings, who jumped from ninth in the Western Conference standings into a
sixth-place tie with Nashville. They are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games against
``It was like a playoff game for them and for us, and we showed what kind of
game we can play when we really need it and it means that much,'' Laperriere
said. ``Everybody showed up right from the start and everybody was hitting.
``Every game means so much and every goal means so much. So if I can help
the team by scoring goals, it's great.''
After Wednesday's game at Dallas, the Kings will play nine of their next 14
against teams behind them in the conference standings _ including Anaheim,
Edmonton and Phoenix twice each. But coach Andy Murray doesn't see an easy
opponent from now on.
``I couldn't tell you where we are in the standings right now, I just know
that we got two points tonight,'' Murray said. ``Every game the rest of the way
is going to be like this, because even if you're playing against teams that are
eliminated, when guys are playing for their jobs, that's a pretty desperate
feeling, as well.
``Anaheim is playing better, Edmonton is playing better and Calgary is going
to be battling.''
Laperriere, Belanger and Sean Avery put the clamps on the Predators' top
line of Scott Walker, David Legwand and Sullivan, who has five goals and five
assists since being acquired from Chicago eight days ago.
``I don't think I'm going to score every night. Tonight, I didn't,'' said
Sullivan, who had three shots on net. ``Some nights the puck is just not going
to go in.''
Sullivan's 10 points tied the NHL record for most points by a player in his
first three games with a team. Wayne Gretzky also accomplished that feat with
the Kings in October 1988.
``They had a job to play against probably the hottest line in the league. So
what we wanted to do was make sure that we eliminated them from the hockey
game,'' Murray said. ``Huet had to make three or four real good saves, and he
really was able to see the puck through traffic.''
The Predators, who totaled 18 goals over their previous three games and set
a club record with eight Saturday night against Phoenix, were blanked by the
Kings for the third time this season _ including a scoreless tie Jan. 13 at
Nashville. Roman Cechmanek, on the injured list because of a groin injury,
posted the other two shutouts.
``We have had a tough time with L.A. _ one goal in four games. I don't know
why,'' goaltender Tomas Vokoun said. ``They just work hard. On paper, we should
probably beat them. I'm glad we don't have to play them again.''
Los Angeles opened the scoring in the first period following a turnover in
the Nashville zone. Belanger skated toward the blue line and backhanded the
puck to Laperriere, who stickhandled past Greg Johnson and Jason York before
slipping the puck through Vokoun's legs.
Cammalleri made it 2-0 early in the second period. He got the puck from
Jozef Stumpel in the slot and fought off a check by All-Star defenseman Kimmo
Timonen before beating Vokoun to the stick side with a 15-foot wrist shot.
This was Cammalleri's second game since his recall on Friday from Manchester
of the AHL. The second-year center scored eight goals in 11 games with the
Kings after getting promoted from the minors on Nov. 17, then was sent back to
Manchester on Jan. 3 following an 11-game goal drought.
Laperriere's second goal of the night _ and 200th career point _ came during
a four-minute power play. Scott Walker was sent off for roughing and got an
additional two minutes for unsportmanlike conduct. Laperriere tipped in a long
slap shot by Tomas Zizka for his sixth goal in eight games.