Dan Ellis made 33 saves and triggered Nashville's first goal with a perfect outlet pass as the Predators edged the LA Kings 3-1 at the Staples Center on Saturday night to complete a three-game California sweep. The Predators knocked off San Jose 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night and beat Anaheim 4-3 in overtime last night, in the first two legs of the California-swing.
Though not paired together on a regular line in the game, Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont still combined to provide the Preds all the offense they would need, assisting on each other's goals. Shea Weber was credited with the other Nashville goal, an unusual empty net tally when the Kings pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker and a Los Angeles pass back to the point split the Kings defensemen and rolled the length of the ice and into the vacant net with 47.7 seconds remaining in the game.
Ellis was the story of the game, though. He robbed the Kings on several occasions, making 26 saves through the first two periods to keep the game tied through 40 minutes of play, including a Patrick O'Sullivan partial breakaway early in the second period and an Alexander Frolov breakaway late in the same frame. Including his 33 stops tonight, the Nashville netminder has made 119 saves during the Preds three-game winning streak.
Ellis triggered the first goal of the game 10:26 into the second period. After the Preds sustained pressure in the Kings zone, LA cleared the puck, but Ellis played the puck much like a third defenseman and made a long tape-to-tape outlet to Martin Erat at the offensive blueline. The pass led to a Nashville three-on-two break. Erat relayed the pass to Dumont entering the offensive zone with speed. Dumont carried the puck to the side of the net before feeding a pass across the goalmouth to Arnott for the score, Arnott's team-leading eighth goal of the season.
After Ellis held the fort the first two periods, the Preds skaters carried the play in the third period out-shooting the Kings in the final 20 minutes, generating three high quality scoring chances, all of which were denied by LA netminder Erik Ersberg. On the third chance, a two-on-one between Arnott and Erat, Erat was hooked down to give the Predators a late-game power-play. Nashville cashed in the man-advantage for the game-winning goal. Ville Koistinen started the scoring play with a shot from the right point. The puck hit Dumont on the left arm as he was setting a screen in front of the goal, but caromed to Arnott behind the net. Arnott quickly fed the puck back out front to Dumont. Dumont roofed the shot for his first game-winning goal of the season.
The Kings got their goal with 4:56 left in the second period, a product of a pair of failed clearing attempts by the Predators. Off a seemingly harmless dump-in, Nashville had trouble playing the puck off the end boards behind the net, creating an LA scoring chance. The Predators had another chance to clear the zone along the right wing boards, but turned the puck over to Peter Harrold. Harrold passed it back to Kyle Quincey at the point. Quincey fired a low hard shot to the front of the net, which Michael Handzus redirected inside the far post.
The Predators return home for a rematch with the San Jose Sharks on Monday night in Nashville, Military Monday Night at Sommet Center.
Nashville's 3-game road winning streak is the longest since the team posted a 3-game road winning streak from Nov. 1-4, 2007, the team's longest road winning streak last season ... Dan Ellis recorded his 4th 30-save performance of the season. All 4 have come in the month of November ... Shea Weber has 18 points already this season, just 2 points shy of his total from last season ... Jordin Tootoo recorded a game-high 4 shots on goal ... Greg Zanon posted game-highs in hits (4) and blocked shots (4).
1 - 0 NSH
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NSH
3 - 1 NSH