The Preds rallied three times to tie the game, but each time were unable to get the next bounce, dropping a 5-4 decision to the LA Kings at home on Tuesday night, Nashville’s first regulation loss at home since January 5.
scored two goals for the Preds to claim the team-lead in goals with 20, the third consecutive season he’s reached the 20-goal plateau, while the Mike Fisher
, Martin Erat
, Sergei Kostitsyn
line continued its strong play accounting for the team’s other two goals on second period tallies by Erat and Kostitsyn.
Despite the loss the Preds remain four points ahead of No. 6 seed Chicago with two games at hand vs. the Hawks and eight points ahead of No. 7 seed Phoenix with a game at hand vs. the Coyotes.
Now on to the musings…THREE MUSINGSThird Period Start:
The game turned in the first 3:00 of the third period. The teams came out of the second intermission tied 3-3 with the Preds holding a 16-15 advantage in shots on goal, but the Kings came out fast in the final period with nine of the period’s first 10 shots on goal and two quick scores to claim a 5-3 lead with 17:00 remaining in the game. The Preds hit the post a minutes later and had a mid-third period power-play, but were unable to trim the lead, failing to generate momentum on the man-advantage. Nashville did pull within one late in regulation on Hornqvist's second of the night, and did end up firing nine of the game's final 13 shots on goal, but were not able to overcome the damage from the first 3:00 of the frame.Missing The Energy:
The Kings controlled the one-on-one battles along the boards tonight, preventing the Preds from getting into their transition game. Coach Trotz called out the team’s effort “in the tough areas” noting that the Preds didn’t win many of the puck battles and did not match the Kings level of desperation, a point of emphasis he said will be passed along before Thursday’s game against Colorado – a team similar to LA desperate for points to remain in the Conference playoff picture. Usually when the Preds coaches talk about struggles in “puck battles” and “not winning the wall” it is the forwards that they are referencing, however tonight it was more the Preds defensemen – usually reliable in those areas – who were neutralized along the boards by the big Kings forwards. Swiss Star: Roman Josi
quietly put together a solid night. Bouncing around pairings between playing the right side with Hal Gill
and the left side with Ryan Ellis
, Josi skated 22:24 of ice time, notching one assist and a game-best +2 plus/minus rating. The rookie defenseman made creative play on the outlet to spring Nashville’s transition game leading to Erat’s goal to tie the game 2-2. He and Ellis nearly combined a few minutes later, but a Jonathan Quick toe save denied Ellis’ blast from the point. Later in the second period he made a deft defensive play to break up a two-on-one Kings breakaway from the blueline in, preventing the Kings from even getting a shot on goal. In the nine games since the Preds acquired Gill, Josi has produced two goals, five points, and +7 plus/minus rating.THREE QUOTESShea Weber
on the team's defensive effort tonight...
"It’s an area we’ve got to clean up, obviously. We’re a team that prides itself on defense, and there was none of it tonight. Five goals. When is the last time we’ve given up five goals?"Patric Hornqvist
on his second goal tonight...
"Andrei [Kostitsyn] flipped it out and the D didn’t get control of it and lost his balance and I got it and tried to make a move; he poke checked me and it hit my skate and went in, so lucky goal."
Barry Trotz on LA's responses after Nashville's goals tonight...
"They got the lead, and then we responded. You talk about putting back-to-back shifts, maintaining momentum, getting them unnerved a little bit – we didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We scored to get it tied up, and they didn’t even finish announcing our goal and they score. To me, that’s not acceptable. That shift after our goal was huge; they capitalized. They won a few more of those puck battles. Especially at the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of emotion coming out. They were playing good hockey; they are trying to win their division, trying to make the playoffs – they’re sort of in that mode, and we weren’t desperate enough to beat a good hockey team like the Kings."THREE STARS
1) LA F Justin Williams - 2 goals; scored LA's first two goals
2) LA F Anze Kopitar - 1 assist, game-high 5 shots on goal; his line set the tone for the game for the Kings tonight
3) NSH F Patric Hornqvist
- 2 goals, 3 shots on goal, +1 rating; second goal of the night gave the Preds a momentum boost and created a harried final few minutes of regulation