Filip Forsberg’s 30th goal of the season proved to be the game winner as the Nashville Predators topped the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. The victory gives the Preds 87 points overall, and the club has recorded at least one point in eight consecutive home games.
“I thought we came out with a purpose tonight,” forward Mike Fisher said. “We played real hard, everyone skated well; it was a tough game and they never gave up. They gave us all we could handle there at the end too, and Pekka [Rinne] shut the door on them.”
After a scoreless first period, Ryan Johansen won an offensive-zone faceoff back to James Neal at the top of the circle, who wristed a shot past the glove of Jonathan Quick for his 28th of the season, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead at 7:37 of the second.
Then, on the night he was honored by the Predators and the NHL for skating in his 1,000th game, Fisher crashed the net and deposited his own rebound over the goal line for a 2-0 lead. Neal’s primary helper on the play was his 400th career NHL point.
Forsberg followed that up with his 30th marker of the campaign when he converted on a loose puck at the side of the net. The goal marked the first time a Preds skater has tallied 30 goals in a single season since Patric Hornqvist accomplished the feat in the 2009-10 season.
After the Kings got two goals early in the third, Johansen redirected his 13th of the season into the twine before Roman Josi iced it with an empty-netter. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves on the night for his 30th win of the season, the fifth time in his career he’s reached the plateau.
Other than a bit of a scare at the start of the third, Head Coach Peter Laviolette sang the praises of each and every skater on his club in win No. 37 on the season.
“I thought it was a really good, team effort,” Laviolette said. “I could give you a little tidbit on everybody. We showed up to play tonight.”
The win against a Los Angeles team, which is one of the best in the League, provides yet another confidence boost to a Predators team that continues to heat up at the right time.
“We have a lot of young [players] in this room, and when they go home tonight, they’re going to look at the standings and the results and say, ‘Wow, we beat one of the best teams in this League and a team that’s talked about a lot as a Stanley Cup contender,’” Johansen said. “We’ll definitely use it as confidence for our group in this room and maybe being a playoff matchup, so we’re very happy with the result.”
400 for Neal, 30 for Fil:
On a night where Mike Fisher was honored for skating in his 1,000th career game, two more Preds made their marks in the record books.
After scoring his 28th goal of the season for point No. 399, James Neal assisted on Fisher’s second-period tally, giving him 400 career points. Neal became the fifth member of the 2005 NHL Draft class to reach the mark, joining the likes of Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, Paul Stastny and Bobby Ryan.
“It’s incredible; you look at some of the names that have reached the 400-point mark and 200 goals as well for him, it’s really impressive to see those numbers,” Ryan Johansen said of his linemate. “[He’s] a huge reason that I’ve had some success since I’ve been here with him being on my line. He’s a great power forward in this League and a huge part of this hockey club.”
Filip Forsberg also got in on the act, tallying his 30th goal of the season, the first time in his career he’s hit the mark.
“Filip looked really good,” Laviolette said. “He went to the net, he’s strong on the puck, he had the puck on his stick a lot tonight trying to make plays, moving his feet in the offensive zone; there’s a lot of good things that he did.”
Music Stars, Teammates and Friends Congratulate Fisher:
Gif of the Game:
After his all-out effort to score a goal in the second period, Mike Fisher’s face is pure elation.
Mike Fisher on the team’s play after giving up two quick goals in the third period:
“I thought after the first five minutes in the third period we were just pressing good; I felt like we got our legs, everyone was going, we got zone time and we battled for some goals and it was the difference. I thought everyone played solid tonight. Pekka was great again.”
The Preds are 6-0-3 in their last nine games against the Kings.
Roman Josi’s assist on Filip Forsberg’s goal was his 41st helper of the season, a career high.
James Neal’s 28th goal of the season gave him his second-highest total for goals in a single season in his career. Neal scored 40 during the 2011-12 season with Pittsburgh.
Eric Nystrom returned to the lineup on Monday after missing 23 games with a broken foot. Nystrom played 11:19 with one shot, one hit and one blocked shot.
The Predators continue their four-game home stand on Thursday night when the Vancouver
Canucks come to town, followed by Columbus on Saturday and Colorado next Monday.
James Neal’s 400th career point, one of many milestones achieved on the evening, earns him the featured graphic.
Infographic: Prince Dethrones Kings