Tanner Pearson scored in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings topped the Nashville Predators by a 2-1 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result still gives the Preds a point in the standings, marking the fifth consecutive game they’ve recorded at least one point.
“The points are important, but it’s disappointing coming off of a loss,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “Any time you leave an overtime loss, or a shootout loss, it’s difficult to be excited about a point. But, we have to keep collecting them. The guys played hard tonight, and we came out on the wrong side.”
After Jake Muzzin gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with just over four minutes to play in the opening period, Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis cleaned up a loose puck in the crease and tucked it past Jonathan Quick to even the score with 27 seconds to play in the frame. The power-play goal was Ellis’ seventh tally of the season, extending his point streak against Los Angeles to five games.
Both teams traded chances for the final 40 minutes of the contest, including a number of Nashville shots that ultimately rang off the post and bounced in the wrong direction. Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne made 11 saves in the third period, but in the extra session, it was Pearson who ended it for Los Angeles, marking the eighth consecutive contest between the two foes that has been a one-goal game.
“It was heavy; they were fast and physical and I thought our guys did a really good job,” Laviolette said. “We competed hard and had a lot of opportunities to score. We hit a couple of posts, a shin guard on an empty net, a shaft on an empty net; we had a lot of opportunities. Their goalie made some big saves, but we had a lot of opportunities to score.”
“Maybe we deserved a little bit of a better fate,” Johansen said. “We had a couple of chances, just a couple of unlucky bounces. But both goalies were great; [Rinne] was awesome. It was a good hockey game; it’s too bad we couldn’t have found a way to win this before going on the road.”
Nashville now heads off on a three-game trip, starting Monday in Montreal, and the opportunity for more points exists with 23 contests now left in the regular season.
Gif of the Game:
Ryan Johansen connects with Jake Muzzin in the corner, delivering a crushing hit.
Ryan Johansen on facing the Kings:
“They’re a great team. They’re one of those teams you might have to face, if you’re going to find ways to win playoff series. They’re a great hockey team and they played well. I thought we played well tonight too, it’s just a couple of bounces could’ve gone our way. That’s the way it goes.”
Preds defenseman Barret Jackman left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Head Coach Peter Laviolette did not have an update on the defenseman’s status postgame.
Saturday night’s attendance of 17,369 was the largest total at Bridgestone Arena this season.
Forward Cody Bass and defenseman Petter Granberg were Saturday’s healthy scratches for the Preds.
Nashville will jet off to Canada on Sunday afternoon, stopping first in Montreal to face the Canadiens on Monday. It’s then off to Toronto for a Tuesday evening matchup with the Leafs before finishing up in Chicago on Thursday.
Preds d-man Ryan Ellis is featured in the Stat of the Game after recording a point against the Kings for the fifth consecutive contest.
Infographic: Not Enough in OT