The Nashville Predators closed out a four-game homestand by preserving a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. But the Nashville club, which at times looked a bit flat compared to recent games, couldn’t hold on to the shutout for goaltender Pekka Rinne
, who recorded his league-leading 35th win.
and Patric Hornqvist
scored for the Predators, who wrapped up the homestand netting 7 of 8 possible points in the standings. With 81 points and sitting in fifth spot in the Western Conference, Nashville is putting some distance between itself and sixth-place Chicago (73 points).
After two good shifts from the Kings to start the game, the Preds’ line of Colin Wilson
, Jordin Tootoo
and Nick Spaling
hopped over the boards to start tilting the ice back in the other direction. The teams went on to trade chances until Nashville defenseman Roman Josi
broke the 0-0 tie with his fourth goal of the season at 18:27 of the first.
L.A.’s high-profile trade acquisition, Jeff Carter, rang a puck of the post three minutes into the second to nearly make it an even game, but the Kings’ miss was compounded by Patric Hornqvist
’s goal seconds later. Playing in his second game since missing five with an upper-body injury, the Swede buried a rebound off the end boards to extend Nashville’s lead to 2-0.
The third period was relatively uneventful but L.A. grew more desperate as it wore on. The Kings finally hit paydirt, foiling Rinne’s shutout bid with less than five minutes to play. Dustin Brown got the goal at 16:36 on a pinballing play, making for a few tense moments as the clock wound its way down to zero.
The Predators will now try to build on their momentum when they venture into Raleigh Tuesday night to face the Carolina Hurricanes. Game time is 6 p.m. CT. THREE OBSERVATIONSRoman:
Nashville defenseman Roman Josi
scored his second goal in three games Monday night, and now has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) on a three-game point streak. Josi seems to be looking for offensive opportunities a bit more with defensively sound partner Hal Gill
backing him up, but the Swiss rookie credits a few fortunate bounces too. “I got lucky a couple of times the last couple of games and just got the points,” he said after Monday’s game.Clamps on Carter:
Kings winger Jeff Carter entered Bridgestone Arena Monday with Pred-killer-type stats: 13 points in 8 career games against the Predators, including a hat trick on Dec. 22 in Nashville. He rang a shot off the post early in the 2nd period but that was as close as he came Monday. He ended the night a -1 with just two shots after missing three times and having three other attempts blocked.Closing in on Records:
With his two assists against the Kings, center David Legwand
notched his tenth multi-point game of the season and the 100th of his career. He is second all-time behind only Martin Erat
’s 102 multi-point games. … Pekka Rinne
, who was within 3:24 of recording his fifth shutout of the season, stopped 30 of 31 L.A. shots to notch his 35th victory of the season. That pulls the Finnish netminder within one win of the franchise record (36), set by Tomas Vokoun in 2005-06.THREE QUOTESJack Hillen
(on playing for the first time since being scratched six times): “I know my role right now, if something happens to somebody I need to be able to step in and be ready. I actually didn’t feel that great in the first period; it takes a little while to get used to being in a game situation. After the first period I started feeling better as the game went on.”Patric Hornqvist
(on his goal): “Sergei made a great play to Legwand there, and he actually missed the net and it ended up right on my stick and I was able to put in the net. It was nice to get the goal and to get the two points.”
Head coach Barry Trotz (on the play of Pekka Rinne
): “I thought he was really good because we weren’t as good in front of him. We gave up too many chances and just weren’t firm enough on pucks. But, that’ll come.”THREE STARS
1. G, Pekka Rinne
(NSH): Stopped 30-of-31 shots to record league-leading 35th win
2. F, David Legwand
(NSH): 2 assists, +2, won 8 of 13 face-offs
3. D, Roman Josi
(NSH): 1 goal, +1, game-high 5 blocked shots