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Post-Game Musings: at Los Angeles

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The Predators rallied from a slow first period to tie the game and claim momentum in the second period, but the Kings regrouped for three goals in the middle of the third period to break away en route to a 4-2 win.

Nashville fell to 1-1-1 on its current West Coast road trip with one more game remaining, a match-up tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks.

Now on to the musings...

The Fisher Line: The Preds continue to get great production from Mike Fisher's line. Erat picked up a goal and an assist tonight, while Fisher netted Nashville's other goal. Fisher and Erat have been on the ice for six of Nashville's seven goals scored on the current road trip, three in five-on-five play, two on the power-play with Patric Hornqvist, and one during four-on-four play.

Blueline Turnovers: All season Coach Trotz has preached smart, strong play around the bluelines. LA’s first three goals came courtesy of Preds turnovers around the bluelines. On the Kings first goal, Nashville turned the puck over on a bad pass coming out of the zone, allowing for a sustained shift in the defensive end, which ultimately resulted in a goal on the long shift against the Preds. On the second goal against, the Preds turned the puck over at offensive blueline, creating a two-on-one in transition, which Dustin Penner converted. And then on the third one, the Preds appeared to be in good shape clearing the zone and started a line change behind the play, but Jordin Tootoo was unable to retain possession of the puck a couple of strides outside of the defensive blueline, resulting in a Kings breakaway goal.

High Energy: Gabriel Bourque and Matt Halischuk, both healthy scratches last game, made an impact in their returns to the lineup and gave the Preds a boost to the lower forward lines. Halischuk was especially noticeable in the second period, including a deft poke check to foil a potentially dangerous rush by Drew Doughty with around 40 seconds left in the period. Bourque might not have figured on the scoresheet much, but his speed on the forecheck created issues for the Kings throughout the night.

Defenseman Jack Hillen on tonight's game...
"They’re a good team, they’re desperate and they’re playing for their playoff lives. But it’s going to be like that all the way out from here to the playoffs. It’s going to be good for us to get ready for the playoffs. We just have to pick our game up another level."

Head Coach Barry Trotz on tonight's game...
"From the second period on, I thought we were coming on and they had security. They threw it up the front-side rim and it bounced over Kostitsyn’s stick and they executed on it. That’s where we’ve got to stabilize the game, though. Things are going to happen, a good play, a mistake here and there. You just have to hold it at that and then see if you can get the next one and get it tied up. We didn’t do a good job. We turned the puck over in the neutral zone."

Forward Martin Erat on the remaining schedule...
"Very important, especially for the teams on the bubble and for us. We’re just trying to get to the postseason"

1) LA F Anze Kopitar – 1g, team-high 3 shots on goal; dangerous all night long both as a shooter and a passer
2) LA G Jonathan Bernier – 19 saves; kept the game tied until his team’s offense was able to get ramped up in the third period; didn’t give up any rebounds, especially when the Preds controlled the play in the second period
3) NSH F Patric Hornqvist – took a beating all night long and continued to return to the tough areas, drew a Preds power-play, set the screen on the Preds PP goal

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