The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night by a score of 4-2 in front of 15,761 at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville had way too many costly turnovers and bad breaks in this game, which allowed the Kings to escape with a victory.
Los Angeles got on the board first in the 1st period when Anze Kopitar scored on a great pass from behind the net by Dustin Penner. Nashville would respond later on in the period when Jonathon Blum scored his 2nd goal of the season against his former favorite team. At the end of the period, the Preds seemed to gain a lot of momentum when Shea Weber and Jordin Tootoo delivered great hits to get the crowd going. However, that momentum wouldn't last long.
In the 2nd period, the Kings once again struck when Alec Martinez scored on the rush to put them up 2-1. Wayne Simmonds would score at 12:03 of the 2nd period on a one-timed snap shot to put Los Angeles up 3-1. Shea Weber gave the puck to Matt Halischuk, who turned it over to create the play for LA.
The 3rd period started off extremely slow and extremely uneventful. Ten minutes into the period, there had only been one shot combined in the entire period for both teams, with Nashville having the only shot. Then, a flicker of hope seemed to come for Preds fans when J.P. Dumont tipped in a Cody Franson shot from the point to pull the Predators within one. However, that's as close as they would get. Los Angeles would add an empty netter and win the game 4-2.
Thoughts from the game:
Pekka Rinne did not have his best night, but wasn't helped by the amount of turnovers that Nashville committed.
Sergei Kostitsyn is not getting as much criticism as he deserves. He is not putting the puck in the net, and really is not producing at all offensively. He was hot at one point in the season, but has now gone drastically cold at the wrong time. Sometimes it seems as if he simpy refuses to shoot the puck, which is a common theme on this team.
I posted a blog the other day about the success that Martin Erat and David Legwand were having lately. Yeah, well they were not good Tuesday night at all. They had a lot of turnovers and never got anything going, which could partially be due to the fact the Joel Ward was out with a "lower body injury."
Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson have got to start putting the puck in the net. Period.
Los Angeles is a hell of a hockey team. They have now moved up on my list to the number one team that I would least like the Preds to see in the first round of the playoffs. They're bigger, faster, and stronger than the Preds. Nashville does not matchup well at all with Los Angeles.
The Preds are going to face a similar team to Los Angeles on Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. Nashville and Boston don't face each other often so there isn't going to be much familiarity between the two teams. This is a game where Mike Fisher's experience can be valuable. I think the Preds toughest game of the week is behind them, but that doesn't mean they can't lose the next two games. They've got to come out with a intensity that we haven't seen so far this year. There are only 12 games left in the regular season. It's literally now or never for the Predators.