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Los Angeles Kings @ Nashville Predators Game 60 Recap: Close but no cigar, Kings drop another tight one, 2-1

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“It’s just we’re just not good enough right now.” -Dustin Brown

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

These are the dog days of the recap. Games not good enough for a running diary. Games close enough to watch, but never giving you enough hope that a victory will occur. This was one of those games. Following another trade—Carl Hagelin we barely knew ya—the Kings found themselves playing another game against a team going in the opposite direction as their current trajectory: the Nashville Predators.

The result was predictable:

  • Predators jump out to an early lead, tonight courtesy of Kyle Turris. (This, of course, is game over if you’re the team who walks into the locker room trailing Nashville after the first period as they are 16-1-1 when leading after one and 27-3-1 when scoring first).
  • Kings give up an early second period goal, tonight thanks to Roman Josi who scored 46 seconds in.
  • Jonathan Quick stands on his head the rest of the way, keeping it close until the Kings manage a third period tally (Michael Amadio supplying the goal this time) to give us all a smidgen of hope.
  • Kings have multiple power play opportunities but squander them all, giving up shorthanded bids along the way.
  • The game stays tight until the last minute or two, allowing the Kings to pull the goaltender and go for the 6-on-5 attack only to waste most of it trying to get organized in time for a wild frenzy at the end where one of their remaining stars (Anze Kopitar) barely misses sending the game into overtime.

That’s pretty much the game in a nutshell (and so many for that matter this season) as Pekka Rinne made 28 saves, backstopping the surging Predators back to the top of the Central Division.

Tonight’s 2-1 loss was fairly deceiving. If not for the goaltending clinic Jonathan Quick puts on behind a team that’s minus 40 in goal differential this season (Tampa Bay is a plus 80 for those of you keeping track), the score could have easily been 5-1 by the time the final horn sounded.

Next: The Kings continue their four-game trip on Saturday at the Florida Panthers.

Quotables:

Willie Desjardins:

“I don’t know if you can ever adjust to it. Losing’s tough. Like, it’s just hard, and it doesn’t matter when it is. You always hope guys don’t ever get good at that. That’s something guys are going to get frustrated with. But they’ve been resilient – with the trade and coming in here, they went hard. They wanted to win, they thought they had a chance, and guys competed hard.”

Dustin Brown:

“I mean it’s six in a row, so it’s disappointing I guess. Guys are I don’t think, I don’t question anybody’s work ethic, it’s just we’re just not good enough right now. We’ve got to figure out how individually to be better and collectively to be better. There’s just certain plays where we make it a little harder on ourselves than we need to. We have a lot of guys that are kind of learning on the fly right now, so I think it’s a good opportunity for a lot of guys to play in these games. But at the end of the day, losing six in a row at this time of year in this business that we’re in it’s frustrating. Tonight I thought we played a good game. They’re a really good game. A really good goalie made a few big saves just like our goalie and it’s a close, close league.“

Anze Kopitar:

“I thought we didn’t play bad, but playing not bad doesn’t get you the win, so we’ve got to find a way to score more goals and keep them out of our net obviously. I mean we’re giving up power play goals. That should be the staple of our game. We’ve always been good and for whatever reason we’re not this year and it’s costing us games.”

The Future: