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Mully's Musings: at Los Angeles

Wednesday, 11.09.2011 / 1:35 AM / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: at Los Angeles
There’s something about the Los Angeles Kings that gives Nashville fits.

It doesn’t matter if L.A. is struggling or soaring, the Predators seem to struggle. And Tuesday night was no different.

The Kings hadn’t won a game since Oct. 27 and were on a five-game winless streak, but busted out with a 4-3 victory against the Preds at Staples Center. Nashville was playing its fourth game of a five-game road trip and had won its previous two entering Tuesday. The Preds finish up the West Coast swing on Wednesday at Anaheim.

Nashville gave No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne a rest, the team’s leader in points went down with an injury, and the Preds spent way too much time in the penalty box in the first two periods.
Nashville did show some fight after going down by two goals in the first. The Preds tied it at 2-2 before the first intermission, and nearly tied it at the end of regulation. Patric Hornqvist, who tied a franchise record with a goal in six consecutive games, scored with 1:21 remaining to cut L.A.’s lead to 4-3, and Colin Wilson nearly scored in the final second.

On to the musings…


THREE MUSINGS
Tough loss: Veteran forward David Legwand suffered an upper-body injury early in the first when he was hit by L.A. Captain Dustin Brown. Legwand got back to his feet, but eventually headed to the locker room. He did not return. Needless to say, if Legwand is out for any significant amount of time, it will hurt. He entered as the team’s leader in points (14), assists (nine) and was second in goals (five). Recently, his offensive production has been coming when Nashville needed it most, in clutch moments late in games. There is no official word on how long Legwand will be out, but with injuries to forwards to Sergei Kostitsyn and Nick Spaling, Nashville may have to make a roster move for the game at Anaheim.

Rinne rests: It had to happen at some point. Rinne had started all 13 games for Nashville this season, and with back-to-back games to end the West Coast swing, this was probably the perfect time to do it. Anders Lindback performed about the way one would expect. He had some solid stops, but there were some issues as well. It was Lindback’s first start since March 20 of last season, and it was his first game action of the season since Oct. 20 against Vancouver when he came in to relieve Rinne. In that game, Lindback stopped 23 of 24 shots, but the Canucks won 5-1. One of the positives from Lindback on Tuesday came early in the first. He made a long pass when the Kings were making a change, and Nashville received a good scoring chance when Shea Weber blasted a shot.

Doing the work: Matt Halischuk is the type of player that Nashville coach Barry Trotz loves. Halischuk performs at a high speed, but it’s balanced nicely with controlled play and smarts. When L.A. took a 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game, Halischuk scored five minutes later to get the Preds to within one goal. By the end of the first, Nashville had it tied at 2-2, thanks to a power play goal by Craig Smith. Halischuk now has two goals in his last three games, and if injuries continue to plague Nashville’s forwards, Halischuk will be counted on even more.


ONE QUOTE
F Matt Halischuk: “It was back and forth. We didn’t get the start we wanted, but we tied it up. We couldn’t get the momentum back until it was too late. It cost us a couple of points.”


THREE STARS
F Jarret Stoll, L.A.: 2 assists, +1 rating
F Patric Hornqvist, Nashville: 1 goal, game-high 7 shots
G Jonathan Bernier, L.A.: Stopped 27 of 30 shots


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