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Quick the difference as Kings edge Predators

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jonathan Quick didn't sound like a big fan of the shootout after Thursday night's game.

"It's a bit of a crapshoot," the Los Angeles Kings goaltender said.

That being said, Quick came through when it mattered.

After bagging 34 saves in regulation and overtime, Quick stopped all three shots in the shootout as Los Angeles nipped the Nashville Predators 2-1 before 16,416 fans at Bridgestone Arena.

Anze Kopitar beat Pekka Rinne on the shootout's last shot to seal the win for the Kings (5-3-0), who finished 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip.

"It's a pretty long trip and sometimes, the last game is a little bit sloppy," Kopitar said. "But I thought it was a pretty good effort by everybody. It took until the shootout to win it, but we'll take it."

Kopitar studied how Rinne stoned Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on their shootout attempts, then found a way to crack the code.

"I saw them shoot to the side and figured I'd try to mix it up a little bit," Kopitar said. "I guess I was fortunate that my move worked."

Quick's consistent brilliance was all that saved Los Angeles at times. After dominating the first half of the first period, the Kings were outplayed over the last 55 minutes as Nashville (3-3-1) created one good scoring chance after another.

But the Predators couldn't beat Quick, save for Matt Cullen's rebound goal at 10:33 of the first off a goalmouth scramble. They created more than 20 quality opportunities, but Quick wouldn't allow them to put a crooked number on the board.

"If it weren't for Jonathan Quick, we would have lit it up tonight," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought we were very detailed after the first five or 10 minutes. We had a number of chances, but chances don't count on the scoreboard."

After Slava Voynov's wrister at 19:18 of the first period evened the score, Quick kept Los Angeles in contention with a series of highlight-film saves. He robbed Matt Hendricks on the doorstep midway through the second period, then denied Victor Bartley from the slot with just eight minutes remaining in regulation.

In overtime, the Predators were presented with a power play as Alec Martinez was nailed for high-sticking Ryan Ellis at 1:29. But Quick walled off a pair of 10-foot wrist shots from just left of the crease by Patric Hornqvist to force the shootout.

Quick pokechecked the puck from Craig Smith to start the shootout, then forced Filip Forsberg to shoot wide left before swatting away Cullen's attempt.

"They're throwing their higher-skilled players at you, so if you give them time to make a play, they will," Quick said of his pokecheck on Smith. "You're just trying to take away their time and space."

Rinne finished with 29 saves for Nashville, including two on Justin Williams during a Kings power play late in the third period and a pad stop to deny Mike Richards a short-handed tally earlier in the third.

But Rinne's performance and his teammates' consistent pressure wasn't quite enough to overcome Quick's sterling outing.

"Pekka looked really good," Trotz said. "But we just couldn't solve Quick."

NOTES: Rinne played his 300th career NHL game, all with the Predators. He's started all seven games this season after offseason hip surgery. ... The game matched two of the league's top teams in faceoff percentage. Nashville came in having won 56.2 percent of draws, good for third, and Los Angeles was right behind at 55.8 percent. The Predators won 34-of-60 faceoffs in this one. ... Predators D Roman Josi (concussion) remains on injured reserve after being hurt Oct. 4 in Colorado. It's not known when Josi will be able to return. ... The Kings have played six of their first eight matches away from Staples Center, but will start a four-game homestand Saturday night against Dallas.
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