The 17,113 fans who packed Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night went from sadness to euphoria in a span of 10 seconds.
Mike Fisher scored his second goal of the game with 26.4 seconds left in the third period to cap a wild finish and give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Predators looked like they were winners after Fisher broke a 1-1 tie by scoring a power-play goal with 3:18 left in regulation. But L.A.'s Jeff Carter beat Marek Mazanec with 36.7 seconds remaining to stun the full house and tie the game.
However, the Predators won the ensuing faceoff and entered the L.A. zone with speed. Colin Wilson fed a pass to Fisher, who fired a shot from the slot that hit goaltender Ben Scrivens' glove and barely crossed the goal line.
"He steps it up in critical situations," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of Fisher, who scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season. "His line with Patric Hornqvist and Colin was really good tonight."
Fisher gave the lion's share of the credit to Wilson.
"Colin made a great play trying to take the puck to the net, and I was just trying to find a hole," Fisher said. "He found me in a great spot, and it just trickled through the goalie."
A video review confirmed the ruling on the ice that the puck had completely crossed the line.
"I got a large chunk, but not enough," Scrivens said. "It's an extremely frustrating way to lose a hockey game."
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell felt his team wasn't aggressive enough in its defensive coverage on Fisher's game-winner.
"I think we could’ve been maybe a little bit more aggressive at the line because we had numbers, and then it was just a little bit of blown coverage through the middle," he said.
Fisher also assisted on Patric Hornqvist's first-period goal for Nashville, which ended a five-game losing streak. Anze Kopitar scored the Kings' other goal during a second-period power play.
Mazanec stopped 26 shots. Scrivens, playing for the first time since Dec. 15, made 28 saves in the Kings' second straight loss.
"He made some timely saves when we needed him to and he was calm back there," Trotz said of Mazanec, who earned his first victory in a month. "From our standpoint, it was a combination of solid goaltending and a desperate competitive team going against a fresh, veteran team."
The Predators, who returned home after a 4-1 loss at the Dallas Stars on Friday, got on the board first at 14:42 of the first period. Seth Jones' shot from the right point hit a leg in front and caromed to Fisher in the slot. Scrivens stopped Fisher's wrister, but Hornqvist picked up the rebound and backhanded it into the empty side of the net for his eighth of the season.
"It was a tough turnaround from last night," Trotz said. "I thought they really tried to grind us down, but we stayed with it. I thought as the game went on we got stronger. That shows a lot of character."
Los Angeles got even 7:05 into the second period. With Nashville's Paul Gaustad off for tripping Slava Voynov, the Kings defenseman slipped a pass to Kopitar in the high slot for a wrister that went past Mazanec's glove and inside the left post. It was Kopitar's 12th of the season and his team-high sixth on the power play.
Nashville had a great chance to regain the lead when penalties to Jake Muzzin and Matt Greene gave the Predators 47 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time. But they did not manage a shot on goal during the two-man advantage and had two that were denied by Scrivens during the 5-on-4 power play.
The Predators broke the tie at 16:42 of the final period. With L.A.'s Tyler Toffoli off for holding, Fisher caught the Kings on a bad line change. He picked up the puck near the red line, raced into the Kings zone and ripped a slap shot from the high slot past Scrivens. But with the Kings goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker, Carter took Kopitar's pass from the right boards and zipped his 12th of the season past Mazanec to make it 2-2.
Material from team media was used in this report.
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