To overtime we go. Since the implementation of 3-on-3, Kings 14-3, Predators 2-12. Both LA wins over Nashville last season came in OT.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) October 28, 2016
Well now it almost seems like a given that once this game went beyond 60 minutes, LA had this in the bag. Sure. No sweat.
In the preview, Eric wrote about Peter Budaj having to steal this game and minus one blunder, he nearly did on his own. The Slovakian netminder was calm, cool and collected all night, with mostly conservative movement and not overplaying the situation at hand.
With the game being very much a track meet after our neighbors to the south completely humiliated the Preds last night, Budaj was great at tracking and finding the puck early on when there was probably a dozen legs in front of him. Minus the shorthanded goal through a gaping five-hole, the Kings' third
string backup starter was solid when called upon.
Drew Doughty is off to a fantastic start to the season. While Jake Muzzin has struggled, Doughty was a madman (in a good way) all over the ice. However, against Nashville, Muzzin was surprisingly mostly good and even scored the (first) game-tying goal on the power play.
Tyler Toffoli got his second cupcake of the year when he was credited with the (second) game-tying goal 41 seconds after Viktor Arvidsson scored a shorthanded goal. It was a play entirely set up by Nic Dowd as Jim Fox pointed out in the postgame show. Without forcing the play, Dowd regrouped and waited for the line change, found some open ice and just put the puck on net. Toffoli was able to get to the rebound first and a few lucky bounces went his way.
In overtime, it was his father who managed to have things go his way. After the Predators successfully killed a penalty in which the Kings basically set up shop in the offensive zone for the majority of it (and it looked like an Anze Kopitar shooting clinic), Kopitar and Jeff Carter connected on a pass that hit a leg in front and went off what appeared to be the back of Pekka Rinne's skate.
It doesn't matter how it happens, so long as it goes in, right?
In a limited, five-game sample this season, Nic Dowd had been terrific. With four points (and two on the man-advantage in this game), so far Dowd hasn't looked like a rookie but like the type of responsible veteran that Darryl Sutter loves. He even earned the coach's trust to be out on the ice in the final 17 seconds with a defensive zone draw. Sutter noted in the presser that he's just trying to be put Dowd in a position and the Alabama native is mostly doing that.
Also, fun fact:
Dowd, who grew up 90 minutes from Nashville & attended #Preds games when younger, made a couple plays to distribute pucks, earned assist.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) October 28, 2016
Despite four minor infractions, somehow the Kings' penalty killers managed to hold off the Predators' once-red-hot power play. Going into this matchup LA's PK was 27th in the league while Nashville's power play was tops, operating at a nearly 50% click (although it did suffer a little with the disaster in Anaheim).
It'll be tough sledding for the Kings over the next two weeks as they have a back-to-back on the road in St. Louis and Chicago before coming home to face their Mickey Mouse rivals, the defending Stanley Cup Champions and Johnny Gaudreau and then a five-game road swing through three time zones.
Hockey is back, y'all!