By Amanda DiPaolo
The Predators made it four wins in a row Thursday night in Los Angeles, when Nashville beat the Kings 5-2, a team that had already beaten the Predators twice this season. Anders Lindback got the start in net for Nashville. It was Lindback’s first start since his loss in Chicago on December 22. Jonathon Bernier, the Kings backup goaltender, tried for his fourth consecutive win over the Predators, but came up short. The Kings are now losers of five straight games.
Nashville’s offense was lead by Patric Hornqvist with two goals along with Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn, both who posted a goal and two assists during the game.
It was a scoreless first period, but the Predators maintained good puck control and had a lot of zone time during the opening period — a good sign for a team that played the night before against the Ducks.
With 9:27 to play in the first, Hornqvist got called for interference on Kings captain Dustin Brown. Hornqvist was caught retaliating for an elbow Brown threw on Shea Weber. The Predators allowed two shots on goal during the power play.
Nashville had an excellent opportunity to go up 1-0 in the dying seconds of the first perio when David Legwand hit the post with 9 seconds left. The Kings had just enough time to make the distance to the Predators zone for their own scoring chance. Wayne Simmonds wrist shot forced Lindback to make a save in the final second of the period.
Nashville has not lost since Legwand returned to the lineup December 31st in Minnesota and the center has collected 3 assists.
After no goals in the opening frame, five goals were scored in the second period.
The Predators started the second period down yet another man injured. Nick Spaling did not return to the bench at the start of the middle frame. Spaling is listed as having an upper body injury. The Predators already have Martin Erat, Steve Sullivan, Matthew Lombardi, Cal O’Reily and Jordin Tootoo out of the lineup.
Things looked bad on the injury front when JP Dumont went down on the ice. With Dumont lying on the ice, the Kings had numbers going down into the Predators’ zone. With a 3 on 1, Marco Sturm carried the puck into Nashville’s zone and shot the puck towards Lindback. Kyle Clifford collected the rebound and found the back of the net on the backhand at 2:16 into the second period. Anze Kopitar picked up the other assist.
Francis Bouillon gave the Kings their second power play of the night six minutes into the second period. Bouillon was called for interference on Dustin Brown. Nashville went down by two goals when Jarret Stoll sent the puck high taking advantage of Lindback when he lost his stick during the penalty kill. Kopitar and Ryan Smyth picked up assists.
The Predators cut the lead in half when they scored a power play goal of their own. Clifford was called for hooking Weber. Ryan Suter drew the defenders and sent a backdoor pass to Wilson who, left all by himself with an empty net to shoot at, was able to tip in the puck at 8:57 into the middle frame. Kostitsyn picked up the secondary assist.
Nashville tied the game just a little over a minute after getting on the scoreboard. Marek Svatos got his first goal of the season and first as a Nashville Predator. Wilson and Weber collected the assists.
With just 5:32 left in the second, Nashville took the lead when Hornqvist tipped in a Wilson shot for his 12th goal of the season. Hornqvist has now scored in four consecutive games for the Predators. Hornqvist’s goal was another power play goal. Matt Greene was in the box for interference on Jarred Smithson.
The second period’s action neared its completion with a fight between Simmonds and Bouillon. The 6’2 left wing for th Kings held a decisive height advantage over the small Predators defenseman. Bouillon got his nose broken.
The final frame was all Nashville.
Kostitsyn added to Nashville’s lead at 9:10 of the third period. Like Hornqvist, Kostitsyn has scored in four consecutive games. Hornqvist collected the fifth goal for Nashville with 4:27 left in regulation.
With the win, the Predators are now in sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference standings, though they are also just a loss or two out of eighth spot. Nashville now moves on to San Jose to complete their three game California road trip on Saturday night. The Sharks lost Thursday night to Buffalo, being shutout 3-0.
Additional Game Notes:
Kostitsyn left the game eight minutes into the first period when he had a collision with Justin Williams and ended up going into the post of the Predators net. Kostitsyn hit Williams leg head first as he dove on the backcheck. Kostitsyn left the bench but returned to the game just minutes later.
Dumont left the game after the first Kings goal but returned about 10 minutes later.
Nashville went 2 out of 3 on the power play.
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