While driving past the Sommet Center, don’t be surprised to see L.A. rookie goaltender, Erik Ersberg, exiting the stadium with his new best friend. After stopping three potential Predator goals at the risk of personal injury, Ersberg should thank him for his second career win.
Who is this player? Future Hall of Famer Rob Blake? Nope. Scoring sensation Anze Kopitar? Wrong again. Try the crossbar that resides in 501 Broadway.
The Preds came out strong peppering the rookie goalie with 11 shots on goal, and one shot on crossbar, as Shea Weber
beat Ersberg top shelf, only to hit iron at 16:29 of the first period. Also, Dan Ellis for the Predators started off strong, stopping all nine of the Kings’ shots, including a close-range blast by Derek Armstrong at 5:51 of the opening period.
Entering the second period, the Predators appeared to be in control after J.P. Dumont buried Alexander Radulov
’s rebound past a sprawling Ersberg to cap off a 2 on 1 that started with an outlet pass from the Predators’ captain.
Perhaps they were looking ahead to their next game in Detroit. Perhaps they assumed the game was in a bag. But the Predators played like birds in a box for the rest of the game, and were unable to capitalize on the few scoring chances they had after Dumont’s goal.
The Kings played like a team fighting for a playoff spot, not a team with a league low 60 points. “This is the playoffs for the Kings,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “We have been in their situation. There is not a better feeling for a team that is out of the running for the playoffs but to be able to anger or really disrupt a team that is still trying to make it.”
With Weber in the box for hooking, Alexander Frolov beat Ellis 5-hole after a pass from Patrick O’Sullivan. The assist increased O’Sullivan’s point streak to five games. The Kings continued the bombardment on the Predators’ goalie, as Kevin Dallman scored on the Kings first shot of the second period. The shot, a one-timer from the point, beat the ever- flashy Ellis high to the glove side, giving the Kings a lead they never gave back. At 10:23, Frolov scored his second goal after he redirected Lubomir Visnovsky’s slap shot from the point to the right of Ellis. Matt Ellis capped off the scoring with an open net goal late in the third.
“We have to play a lot better,” said Trotz. “This was a game we didn’t want to lose. We don’t want to lose any games. We need to win games at home.”