Predators blow lead but still edge Kings

Dennis Bernstein, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Nashville Predators didn't let losing a two-goal, third period lead in a second consecutive game end up with the same result this time. After losing in overtime in Phoenix on Thursday, the Predators dug in their heels and bounced back to win for the first time on a seven game road trip.
David Legwand scored two goals including the game winner and Carter Hutton made 35 saves as the Predators defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Saturday night.
Legwand banged home a rebound off a shot from the point from Mattias Ekholm at 16:04 of the final period to give the Predators (7-5-2) their first win of a seven-game road trip. Patric Hornqvist added three assists.
Predators coach Barry Trotz said that Legwand was Nashville's best player all evening.
"He was trying to get to the net in this game and he was more detailed. His game is getting rewarded by working and paying the price and all that. It was good to see him get a reward for some good hard work."
Predators defenseman Seth Jones thought Hutton was Legwand's equal in the victory.
"He played unbelievable for us and we need him to play like that day and day out," Jones said. "He is very consistent and gives everything he's got and the team really appreciates that."
The Kings (9-6-0) were led by Jake Muzzin's two assists while Anze Kopitar added a goal and an assist.
Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said the team's defensive play betrayed them in the loss.
"It doesn't matter where you are, if you get four goals scored on you, you're going to lose," he said.
Kopitar noted that Los Angeles' 38-17 margin in shots made little difference in the outcome.
"We had a lot of shots like you said but maybe we should have got a little bit more bodies in front of them," he said. "I think tonight was a special team that decided the game."
Los Angeles knotted the score at 3 by scoring two goals within 2:17 in the third period. Dustin Brown's shot from the left boards eluded Hutton to get the Kings within a goal. Mike Richards then tied the game on a goalmouth scramble during a power play at 11:18.
The Predators opened the scoring when Legwand scored on the power play at 11:15 of the first period. Legwand took a pass from Jones and fired a wrist shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for his third goal of the season. The score marked the sixth consecutive game in which the Kings surrendered a power-play goal.
Los Angeles' penalty-killing woes continued when Nashville doubled its lead, scoring again with the man advantage late in the opening period to make it 2-0. Shea Weber got an easy tap-in on a feed from Patric Hornqvist at 19:06. The goal was Weber's fourth of the campaign and tied him for the team lead in goals with four.
The Kings sliced the lead to one after 20 minutes after Kopitar banged home a rebound of a Muzzin shot at 19:41 of the opening session. The goal was Kopitar's third of the season and marked the first time he scored in consecutive games.
Nashville retook a two-goal lead in the second period when Eric Nystrom was left unchecked in front of the net after a Drew Doughty turnover. Doughty's back pass hit referee Mike Hasenfrantz and bounced to Hornquist, who shoveled a backhand feed to Nystrom, who beat Quick with a snap shot at 8:41 of the middle frame.
NOTES: This was the second game of a seven game, 17-day road trip for Nashville, the longest amount of time they've been away from Bridgestone Arena in their history. The Predators hit the road due to the Country Music Association Awards being held in Music City on Wednesday. ... D Jones entered the game with the highest time on ice (25:08 this season) for any rookie and is 12th overall for defenseman. ... Nashville is 6-0-2 in games they score first. ... Kings RW Jeff Carter was placed on Injured Reserve with a lower-body injury and missed his first game of the season. The first time he's been out since the final game of the 2011-12 season, a stretch of 61 games. ... Kings RW Tyler Toffoli and C Linden Vey were recalled from Los Angeles' AHL Manchester affiliate Saturday. Toffoli replaced Carter on the Kings second line while Vey was a scratch. ... The Kings announced their franchise record 76th straight sellout at Staples Center, a streak that started on Dec. 3, 2011.

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