Prior to the game, Jim Fox's emphasized the goaltending match-up between two of the game's elite goalies. Pekka Rinne leads the league in wins and Jonathan Quick's reputation precedes him wherever he goes. Both teams have notoriously strong defenses.
So, of course Matt Greene made it 1-0 just 32 seconds into the game.
Mike Richards won an offensive-zone draw back to the point and the Kings forwards flooded the slot. Matt Greene was probably just trying to a get a shot through to the net, but with all of the traffic in front - Richards, Dwight King, and Kyle Clifford were essentially lined up to screen the goalie - Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne couldn't find the shot.
Unfortunately, it as a short-lived lead. Similar to the Kings' go-ahead goal, the Prds used an offensive-zone faceoff to generate some offense. Roman Josi fired a wrist shot from the point. The puck never made it to Quick, but instead ricocheted off of traffic in front. Quick was unable to track the bounce and the puck found itself loose on the ice next to a yawning cage. Mike Fisher easily tied the game with one of the easiest goals of his career.
Then, just moments later, another good bounce benefited the Predators. After the Preds forced a turnover, Colin Wilson sat unmarked behind the Kings' net with a lot of time and space. He tried to feed Mike Fisher for a second easy goal of the afternoon, but Matt Greene got his stick on it. Unfortunately for Greene, the puck bounced off his stick and past Jonathan Quick to make it 2-1 Predators.
This wasn't a theme that would go away. Both teams relied on traffic and a strong net-front presence. Goals were scored on weird hops and funny bounces and hefty screens throughout the course of the game.
So far this season, the Predators have one of the worst power plays in the league. That did not stop them from using the man advantage following a Kyle Clifford penalty to make it 3-1 in their favor. Mike Ribeiro dished a nice cross-seam pass to Ryan Ellis who beat Quick with a one-timer.
The goal chased Quick from his crease just over 10 minutes into the game. He conceded 3 goals on 9 shots.
Late in the first period, the Kings pushed for a goal to cut the lead in half. Anze Kopitar had a chance in tight but wasn't able to squeeze his shot inside the post. Unfortunately, an early Kings' goal and a late push did little to mask what a dominant period the Preds put forth. Possession belonged to Nashville at nearly a 2:1 clip and they never really let the Kings off the ropes.
Unfortunately, the second period didn't result in a continuation of that strong play late in the opening frame. Nashville once again was able to generate offense off of an offensive-zone faceoff. Though the Predators lost the faceoff, they were able to quickly regather the puck. Mattias Ekholm wound up with the puck by himself and took a shot from the point that redirected off of Drew Doughty's stick to beat Martin Jones. It took less than 3 minutes of the second period for the Predators to make it 4-1.
Then, just 2 minutes later, newly-acquired Predator Mark Arcobello made it 5-1 on a transition play. Arcobello skated the puck easily into the zone and wristed a shot from the faceoff dot cleanly past Martin Jones on the short side.
We know the Kings though. They don't go quietly.
Immediately following a frustrating power play during which Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown both hit the post, Alec Martinez cut the Predators lead to 3. Martinez gathered the puck at the point then turned and fired a wrist shot into traffic. The puck bounced around off of some Predators in front of the net and past Pekka Rinne.
Though it took longer to materialize, the Kings again scored quickly shortly after a power play ended. Jake Muzzin took a shot from the point but kept it along the ice so that, once again, the traffic in front of Pekka Rinne could do its job. Dwight King redirected the shot into the top of the net to make it a 2-goal game.
Most likely boosted by score effects, the Kings had actually tipped the overall possession battle in their favor by the time the second period came to a close.
When the Preds twisted the knife, the Kings were actually well in control of the game. Gabriel Bourque chased down a Predators' clearing attempt that slid all the way into the Kings' end of the ice. He quickly fired the puck off of Jones, who pushed the rebound into the low slow. Former King Olli Jokinen picked up the trash and buried the rebound into the empty net to make it a 6-3 game.
But...the Kings kept pushing.
Dwight King scored his second goal of the game during 4-on-4 play on yet another goal heavily influenced by traffic. Jamie McBain fired a shot from the point that bounced off of traffic to King who easily tapped in the puck to make it 6-4.
Just a minute after that, the Kings scored another goal on a deflection in front. With Martin Jones pulled and the game now at a 5-on-4 state, Alec Martinez blasted a shot from the point. Marian Gaborik redirected the shot past Pekka Rinne to make it a one-goal game.
For the second straight neutral zone faceoff, the Kings yanked Martin Jones after winning the draw. The Kings eventually got possession in the offensive zone. Anze Kopitar corralled the puck in the corner and dished it to Carter who ripped a one-timer past Rinne to tie the game.
The Kings scored 3 goals in 1:27 to tie the game. All of the momentum was on their side. There was no way that the Kings were ever going to lose this game.
Until they did, and they did it just 18 seconds into overtime. A complete defensive collapse saw Roman Josi skate right down the slot with no one within a Costco of him. He beat Jones cleanly to win the game.
It's hard to call this an outright bad performance. The Kings weren't good enough early, but the game was always a bit closer than the scoreboard indicated as the game crawled along. The Kings got less goaltending and fewer bounces than the Predators. They deserved the loss, I think, but I'm not sure how much there is to dwell on. They didn't take bad penalties, they got the game's opening goal, and they scored 6 times.
We know that the Kings are not a team that is going to give up more than 3 goals very often, but sometimes the dealer doesn't give you the cards you need and there's not much you can do about it. Comebacks are always jarring, and a huge comeback is always as lucky as it is skilled, but somehow this one wasn't entirely surprising. They were unlucky to be as down as they were, and were equally lucky to get the comeback, and somehow the Kings got a point which is probably the most just result that there can be here.
The Kings will get several days off to iron out any deficiencies they feel they may have. They return to action next Thursday against the New York Rangers.