LA Kings vs Nashville Predators Game 66 Recap: Kings Sweep Preds in OT

Thanks to red-hot special teams (about the only thing that’s going right at the moment), the Kings squeeze past the Predators.

This was not a pretty game but, hey two points are two points and the Los Angeles Kings managed to stay in the playoff hunt.

[Box Score]

Coming into the game, there was a question of rest versus rust coming off a four day break, though Darryl Sutter did put the team through a couple of rigorous practices this week. To start, the Kings looked very good against the Nashville Predators, peppering Pekka Rinne with several shots and getting some quality looks at the net. But, as per usual, they found themselves down a goal in the first period.

It all began when Jonathan Quick came out of his net to play the puck. No, he wasn’t at fault but Brayden McNabb turned the puck over after weathering a heavy hit and  Roman Josi came in with a deft stick lift on Marian Gaborik, forcing the puck to Calle Jarnkrok, who was basically alone in the slot. Alec Martinez may have been guilty of cheating a few steps to blow the zone, though, honestly, it was just a really good play by Josi to force an errant pass. And so, another day, another period where the Kings trailed. They ended the period with 10 shots on goal and 17 attempts. Maddeningly, they’d held their opponent to just four shots on goal and limited them to 10 CF. Los Angeles had even out-chanced their opponent by a decent margin of 9 to 5, though Nashville held a slight edge in high danger chances with two to LA’s one. Still, another frustrating 20 minutes were in the books but the outlook wasn’t grim for a change.

Gaborik had an interesting game. He was clearly working hard, but he also was on the ice for both goals against and even took an offensive zone minor penalty for slashing when he got a little over excited going for the puck near the net in the first period.

The second period was nearly even better than the first. Three minutes in, Dustin Brown drew a roughing penalty on Mike Fisher and LA’s power play, which seems to be catching some fire lately, went to work. Nashville nearly killed it off but the new guy who came over eight days ago scored in the dying seconds.

That is a beautiful pass from Paul LaDue to Gaborik and Jarome Iginla just cleans up the garbage in front. Iginla might not be great at 5v5, but he was traded for his power play prowess and he really came through tonight.

The Kings added six more shots on goal in the next few minutes then the Predators took over halfway through. It was a little hairy.

But LA survived.

The third period started off really poorly. About 90 seconds in, Kevin Fiala put Nashville back on top.

So Gaborik taketh away but he also giveth in this game. Andy Andreoff drew a penalty (yes, really) on Jankrok for slashing, giving the guys in black a prime opportunity to even the game, which Gaborik was more than happy to do. It was another greasy goal in front, though it doesn’t matter how it goes in as long as it does.

Shortly thereafter, Muzzin’s stick broke at his own blue line and he decided to hold Filip Forsberg to prevent a scoring chance. It’s not hard to blame him considering how much Forbserg has been scoring lately. The Kings killed off the penalty by the skin of their teeth. They allowed two shots on goal and Mike Fisher came really close to putting his team back on top, but league MVP Crossbar came in handy for a nice change.

With about five and a half minutes to go, both teams were mostly just holding on for the extra point so off to overtime went the Kings for the billionth time this season. This is where LA shines and Nashville would rather be elsewhere and it showed in the extra session. The Kings did an excellent job of hemming the Preds in their own zone and then forced them to take an ugly penalty.

A little bit of cycling in the offensive zone and a exactly one minute later, Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla ended the game for his second goal and first multi-goal and multi-point game with the Kings.

LA is now 2-0 with Bob Miller in attendance as a fan since he announced his retirement.

The Kings finished the game with a total of 23 scoring chances-for and 30 chances-against in all situations. At 5v5, it was 20 to 21. High danger chances it was 11-2 in favor of Nashville per Natural Stat Trick. Special teams were the only thing that saved LA’s bacon.

Up next, Justin Williams and the Washington Capitals are in town this week. They’ve cooled off a bit recently and have lost four games in regulation since their bye week almost a month ago. Let’s hope they’re all a little more human on Saturday night.