Rinne, Predators blank KingsBy Chris Lee, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Feb 8, 2013 12:10 AM EST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne and the Predators were glad to be home. The Nashville goalie stopped 32 all shots he faced, and the Predators celebrated a long-awaited return to Bridgestone Arena with a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday evening. The Predators (5-2-3) went 4-2-1 on a seven-game road trip that ended Tuesday in St. Louis. Nashville had just 14 shots against Los Angeles, but it made the most of those chances. Center Colin Wilson scored two second-period goals for the Predators, who were playing at home for the first time since Jan. 21. The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who fell to Nashville at home last week, were shut out for the first time this season. Los Angeles fell to 3-4-2. "The game, the way I looked at it was, we played really well in the first (period) and we capitalized on our chances. I thought we did a really good job. We had good energy, we had all those things," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. Kings center Dustin Brown said, "They're a hard-working team. We didn't match their (competitiveness) at first, and that was ultimately the difference in the game." Nashville struck first at 2:54 of the first period, when David Legwand, operating along the boards behind the net, flipped a pass to a wide-open Gabriel Bourque, who slapped it into the net. The Predators frittered away some good scoring chances throughout the remainder of the period, including the period's only power play, but they extended the lead at 7:01 of the second. Kevin Kline threaded the needle through traffic with a pass to Wilson, who fired the puck between Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and the left post to give Nashville a 2-0 margin. It didn't take Wilson long to do more damage. Five seconds into a power play, he picked up a rebound off Shea Weber's miss and found the net again at 13:02 of the second period. It was the second Predators goal of the night that came off a face-off. The Kings, who lost to Nashville 2-1 in a shootout on Jan. 31, never really threatened late in Thursday's game. "They're a tough team to chase when you're behind," Kings right wing Justin Williams said. "They box you out pretty well, their goaltender is obviously one of the best. Hey, sometimes you can say you didn't get the breaks, but I don't think that was the case tonight. We just didn't deserve it." The Predators are making a habit of getting outshot, as they had been eight times in nine games coming in. Even though they were outshot 32-14 by the Kings, the difference was in the quality of the attempts. The Predators got great looks, while most of Rinne's saves were routine. The way the Predators are playing, they don't need many shots to win. In the past four games, Nashville has allowed a total of three goals. "You've got to work to the inside to get any offense against them," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They're strong guys, and they're really good defenders." The Kings lost for the third time in four games, that run starting with the first loss to Nashville. Los Angeles played its third game in a five-game road trip, but the Kings don't play again until they face the Detroit Reds Wings on Sunday. The Kings looked tired afterward, and defenseman Rob Scuderi was still sporting a black eye from a hit he took against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. "It's good to give them a break. ... Some guys are banged up a little bit," Sutter said. NOTES: The seven consecutive games on the road tied a Nashville franchise record. ... At 4-2-1, the Predators have the third-best road record in the NHL. ... Thursday's scratches were Brad Richardson, Dustin Penner and Andrew Campbell for the Kings, and Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk for Nashville. It's the fifth time that Penner has been scratched in five games. ... Rinne made his seventh straight start over a span of 12 days. ... The Predators' Paul Gaustad played in his 500th NHL game. He finished the night a plus-1.
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