Thirteen different Predators recorded a point, led by rookie Patric Hornqvist's two assists, as Nashville out scored the LA Kings 5-4 at Sommet Center on Saturday night.
The Predators scored three goals in a 3:16 span of the first period to grab the early lead. Ryan Jones opened the scoring with a power-play goal 9:32 into the game, the first power-play goal scored against the LA Kings this season. The Preds worked the puck around the zone and created several scoring opportunities before converting. Jason LaBarbera robbed David Legwand with a incredible diving stop, but Nashville retained possession of the puck and Patric Hornqvist put another shot on goal. Jones cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the season.
J.P. Dumont made the score 2-0 with his second of the year. Hornqvist passed the puck to Dumont on the right wing and then crashed to the top of the crease. Dumont faked a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle and then slid the puck through Hornqvist’s screen at the 10:33 mark.
Martin Erat closed out the scoring barrage with the team’s second power-play tally of the evening. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter worked the point on the power-play with Weber passing to Suter and then cutting back-door as Suter slid to the center point area. Suter blasted a shot with a screen in front of the LA net. Erat redirected the shot for his fourth goal of the season.
The Predators killed off a lengthy three-on-five power-play against carrying from the end of the first period into the start of the second period to maintain the three goal advantage. The Kings broke through later in the middle frame on a pair of Jarret Stoll scores. The first Stoll goal game in transition with Stoll converting the rebound of his own shot from the right wing. The second came on LA’s second five-on-three power-play of the night when Stoll blasted a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle into the far-side upper corner of the net.
The Predators penalty kill would help the team re-gain momentum, killing off a double-minor penalty at the end of the second period carrying into the start of the third period.
Joel Ward and Jerred Smithson combined to give the Preds a 4-2 lead midway through the third period. Ward carried the play through the neutral zone and absorbed a big hit along the boards to relay the puck forward to Smithson flying into the offensive zone. Smithson blasted a shot into the upper near-side corner for his first goal of the season.
Jordin Tootoo followed 1:49 later with his second of the season, taking a feed from Scott Nichol in the right wing faceoff circle and beating the LA defenseman wide-side to the front of the net. Tootoo cut hard across the top of the goal crease and slid the puck just past the goaltender's pad to put Nashville up 5-2.
The Kings countered with a goal by Dustin Brown at the 14:43 mark and pulled within one on Alexander Frolov's score with 1:08 remaining in the game. Derek Armstrong created the fouth Kings goal; Dan Ellis appeared to have the puck controlled off Brad Richardson's shot, but Armstrong checked the puck loose from the Nashville netminder and Richardson slid the pass across to Frolov for the score.
The Predators held off the late Kings rush, including a big save by Ellis on Michal Handzus's shot with 24 seconds remaining. Ellis finished the game with 26 saves for his fourth win of the season.
The Preds return to action on Tuesday, October 28 at the Washington Capitals (6 pm CT start). The game will not be available on local TV due to the NHL television contract with Versus (Versus has an exclusive broadcast window on Tuesday nights; no other game broadcasts are allowed while Versus is on the air), however the game will be available over the Nashville Predators radio network, including flagship station 104.5 The Zone.
Rookie Patric Hornqvist recorded his first career multi-point game with 2 assists in the game ... Jerred Smithson scored his first goal of the season, the 17th different Preds player to score a goal this season ... The Predators went 2-for-3 on the power-play. Entering tonight's game, the Kings had been a perfect 27-of-27 on the penalty kill this season ... Hornqvist led the Predators with 5 shots on goal in the game ... Smithson recorded a game-high 3 hits ... Dan Hamhuis had a game-high 3 blocked shots.
Post-Game Quotes: Head Coach Barry Trotz On his concerns of the game…
“You feel good about getting two points, and the bottom line is always if you win the game or not. Yes we won the game, but I had some concerns. You can’t allow momentum changes and allow teams to hang around when you get an early lead, especially when you come out fantastic like the last couple of games. We had had great jump, we scored goals, we did all the right things. The other teams were pretty good too. And to think that you can dominate a team like we did in the first period, that’s not going to happen in this league—with any team—for a full three periods. We knew that they were going to come out in the second and try to chip away at the lead. We took penalties and allowed them to get back in the game. The momentum changed. They had some good zone time and we were defending quite well but we were spending too much time in the defensive end. Just a routine breakout and an errant pass that they turned over into a goal. Those need to be eliminated; they were routine with no pressure. You don’t need to have a turnover and they come the other way. That concerned me because it changed the momentum of the game.”
On using his timeout early…
“That line got caught out there for a long shift. They were having some zone time and I was trying to not let them build momentum. When you have a lead you aren’t going to need your timeout and that point we were in good shape. I was looking at it as I didn’t want them to keep building momentum and I wanted to stall a bit. I looked down and saw that some of the guys on the ice were a bit tired. When you are in the lead you aren’t going to need your timeout at the end of the game.”
On the play of his team…
“I thought Hornqvist was one of our better players tonight, no doubt about it. Joel Ward again was really good for us. We had some players that were really good and we had some players that I was really disappointed in. It will happen every game. One of the things we’ve got to learn is that we blew a game last time against Calgary and we didn’t find a way to stop the tide—tonight we did. It was a little closer in the end than we wanted it to be but in the end we got a better result. We are making strides moving forward.”
Defenseman Ryan Suter On the win…
“We kind of got lucky. We turned the puck over and they came out and scored – that gave them the momentum. Luckily we came back and got two more goals and came out on top. We have to learn from that and it can’t happen.”
On learning from the other night…
“I’m sure that was fresh on everyone’s mind, it was on mine. We were definitely thinking about that and we might have tightened up a little too much. We just have to learn from it, we got two points out of it and that’s big for us. On to the next game.”
Jerrod Smithson On his late goal…
“It’s always nice to contribute offensively. I don’t do it too often so it feels pretty good. It was a good win; we needed that win. We still have a lot of things to improve on. Our play in the second period was bad. We get up a couple in the third and we need to put the nail in the coffin. They bounced back and made it interesting at the end. We’ll take the two points, learn from it and move on.”
On not protecting a three-goal lead…
“I don’t know if we just take our foot off the gas or what it is. It’s something we have to change. With a lot of these teams and the firepower they have, if we don’t play a full 60 minutes we’re not going to win. I think we have to learn from this fast or we’re going to be in trouble.”
Goaltender Dan Ellis On the win…
It’s great to get a win – that’s the most important thing right now. It’s frustrating when we’re allowing teams to come back and that’s something I need to take more responsibility in shutting the door and not giving other teams life by being able to get one goal to come back then another quick goal. We have to stop the bleeding right away and that comes from big saves from the net out and that’s where I need to take a little more responsibility.”
Wrist shot -