Kings Stifled by Predators, Lose 2-1
Dustin Brown was held to just one goal coming off the heels of his hat trick Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The Kings had previously recorded four goals last Wednesday night against Colorado, an offensive output which they have only eclipsed three other times all season long. On this night however, inconsistency reared its ugly head once again as the team netted only one in a 2-1 loss against the Nashville Predators.
Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt the Predators to place Pekka Rinne between the pipes for one of his finest performances of the season. The Finnish goaltender came within mere minutes of recording his fifth shutout of the year, but had to settle for one goal allowed on thirty-one shots. He also collected his league-leading thirty-fifth win.
On the opposite side of the ice, Jonathan Quick was not bad, yet not dazzling enough to stop every shot he faced. Predators defenseman Roman Josi knuckled a shot from the point 18:27 into the first frame which Quick just wasn’t able to get all of as it squirted through his pads and into the net.
Nashville increased their lead mere moments into the second period when Patric Hornqvist notched his eighteenth on the year with a wrist shot off a friendly bounce from the boards behind Quick. The Kings’ goalie, already seated on his bottom, stretched from post to post with nearly everything he had in him but was unable to stop the shot from going in.
Dustin Brown ended Rinne’s shutout bid with a goal 16:36 into the third period of play. It was the captain’s team-leading eighteenth score of the season and fourth in his past two games.
In typical Kings ashion, the team with a penchant for mounting comebacks in a game’s final seconds and even tenth of seconds, began a furious rally for a tying goal in the last minute of the contest. However, they were unable to steal a win this time around. For that they have, again, mostly Rinne to blame. The former Vezina-finalist stood on his head throughout the entire game and kept the league’s lowest scoring offense off the board until the very end.
New addition Jeff Carter had what was perhaps the best scoring chance of the night a little less than halfway through the second period. Carter followed Mike Richards into the offensive zone and found the puck after the center had been stood up by two Nashville defense. He fired a shot from just to the right of the faceoff dot, seemingly right in the winger’s wheelhouse, but it clanged loudly off the iron. He was held silent the rest of the night—only registering one other shot and a minus-1 in over nineteen minutes of ice time. One has to wonder when the pricey acquisition will record his first point or two as a King. Safe to say Darryl Sutter and his staff will be under the gun until it happens, whether deserved or not.
With the loss, the Kings fall to 28-23-12 for a total of sixty-eight points. That places them at tenth place in the Western Conference, two points behind Colorado and Dallas, who are currently battling for the coveted eighth spot. Three points behind Los Angeles still is Minnesota, who the team plays tomorrow night in St. Paul.