LOS ANGELES - A scoring fest between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators, anyone?
Two of the NHL's most offensively challenged teams aren't noted for big comebacks and high scores, but they put on a third period outburst Saturday night that saw Nashville blow a two-goal lead, only to come away with a 4-3 victory at Staples Center.
David Legwand won an offensive-zone faceoff, went to the net banged in Mattias Ekholm's rebound from the left side with 3:56 remaining and Nashville held on in a thriller.
L.A. erased a 3-1 deficit in the third with goals by Dustin Brown and Mike Richards in a span of 1:37. Brown's seeing-eye shot from a sharp angle deflected into the net at 9:41 and Richards picked the puck out from the feet of Carter Hutton on Tyler Toffoli's rebound for a power-play goal with 8:42 left in regulation.
Los Angeles played its first game without Jeff Carter, its co-leader in goals, because of a lower-body injury.
Both teams lost centers and important faceoff men after two shifts in the second period. Nashville's Mike Fisher left the game with a lower-body injury and L.A.'s Jarret Stoll left with an undisclosed injury, according to the teams.
The Kings and Predators, two grinding teams among the NHL's worst in 5-on-5 offense, combined for four goals in the first 29 minutes -- quite a contrast to their Oct. 17 meeting, a game the Kings won 2-1 in a shootout.
Nashville took a 3-1 lead into the third period despite managing all of 11 shots on goal thanks to two power-play conversions, a fortunate bounce and a career-high tying three assists by Patric Hornqvist.
Drew Doughty's clearing attempt off the end boards hit a referee, and Hornqvist took the loose puck and nicely set up Eric Nystrom between the hash marks for a bang-in goal and 3-1 lead at 8:41 of the second.
L.A.'s characteristically strong penalty-killing unit has allowed nine goals in six games after Legwand and Shea Weber struck in the first period.
Legwand skated above the circles and fired a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick, who was screened by Hornqvist, at 11:15. Weber made it 2-0 with an easy tap-in of Hornqvist's cross-ice feed at 19:06, a goal scored with Kyle Clifford off for boarding.
Anze Kopitar got one goal back for the Kings 17 seconds after Weber's goal.
Toffoli made his Kings season debut and took Carter's place on the second line with Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo. It didn't start well as he was high-sticked by Rich Clune on the opening faceoff and minutes later by Ekholm. But he finished with five shots on goal in more than 19 minutes of ice time.