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game recap

Predators keep pace in Central Division with win against Kings

Sissons has goal, assist to help Nashville remain one point behind Jets

by Dan Greenspan / NHL.com Correspondent

Sissons extends the lead

NSH@LAK: Sissons beats Quick with wicked wrister

Colton Sissons intercepts a pass and skates in before rifling a shot through Jonathan Quick to double the Predators' lead

  • 00:50 •

LOS ANGELES -- Colton Sissons had a goal and an assist for the Nashville Predators in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.

Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves for the Predators (40-27-5), who trail the Winnipeg Jets by one point for first place in the Central Division. Nashville is six points ahead of the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues, who are tied for third.

"It's probably the best game that we've played in recent weeks," Sissons said. "And it feels good to just put a complete effort in from start to finish and just have everybody step up and play their best game."

 

[WATCH: All Predators vs. Kings highlights]

 

Austin Wagner scored his 10th goal for the Kings (25-37-8), who are 2-10-4 in their past 16 games. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves. 

Smith gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 15:32 of the second period when he batted the rebound of Sissons' shot out of midair. Smith has three goals in his past four games.  

Sissons made it 3-1 at 17:59, stealing a poor pass by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez and beating Quick between his legs on a wrist shot. 

Sissons was pleased to see his line contribute two goals and help take pressure off the top line of Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg. 

"It will help us win more hockey games," Sissons said. "If they don't happen to score one night we need other guys chipping in, especially in the playoffs. Hopefully we can continue that depth scoring."

Video: NSH@LAK: Smith taps in bouncing puck for the lead

Arvidsson put the Predators ahead 1-0 at 15:04 of the first period. Nashville broke out after killing a penalty, with Rinne making the save on a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk. Johansen found Arvidsson for a one-timer from the left circle on an odd-man rush. 

It was Arvidsson's 29th goal. He has scored at least 29 in each of the past three seasons, including a NHL career-high 31 in 2016-17. Arvidsson scored 29 goals in 78 games in 2017-18 but has equaled that total this season in 48 games.   

"I feel a little faster this year than I was last year," Arvidsson said. "And I feel like I kind of choose my shots a little bit more this year and hold on to pucks sometimes that I've shot years before."

Nashville had lost two straight, five of its past eight, and fell behind by three goals in a 3-2 loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Sissons said they were determined to start faster and make things easier on themselves by not allowing the first goal.

"We've had a ton of that lately and it's just a grind," Sissons said. "It's hard to do no matter who you are playing in the NHL. When you're down one or two goals it becomes really challenging, so it feels good to get out ahead of a game and stay in the lead and hopefully we can get some more of those the rest of the way."

Video: NSH@LAK: Arvidsson converts after Rinne's great save

Wagner tied it 1-1 at 2:54 of the second period, scoring on a wrist shot in the slot off a centering pass by Trevor Lewis.

"We didn't work hard enough, obviously," said Wagner, who returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a lower-body injury. 

Defenseman Matt Roy had the secondary assist, his first point in 13 NHL games.

 

They said it

"That's what this group has been good at the last couple years. We take ownership of the way we show up and the way we want to play so we got to take this game forward and try to replicate it in San Jose." -- Predators forward Craig Smith on the response following the loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday

"I didn't think we had a great start in the game, which we control. I don't think we were hungry enough in the first." -- Kings coach Willie Desjardins

 

Need to know

The Predators are 30-4-1 when scoring first. … Johansen had an assist for the third straight game. He has four assists in his past six games and is one point shy of 400 in the NHL. … Arvidsson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past six games. He tied the Predators record for most even-strength goals in a season with 27. James Neal had 27 in 2015-16. … Sissons had his eighth multipoint game of the season and first since Jan. 7. … Nashville is 6-0-3 in its past nine games at Staples Center.

 

What's next

Predators: At the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSCA, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Kings: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Three different Preds score in 3-1 win over Kings

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