The Nashville Predators (2-2-1) suffered their third consecutive loss after falling 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings (3-2-0) in a shootout. The Predators held a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but it only took seven minutes for the Kings to turn the game around.
The Preds started the season 2-0 with wins in the NHL Global Series. Their last victory was on Saturday, Oct. 8. After Cody Glass got the scoring started early on Tuesday night, it looked like the team would earn their first home victory.
“Tonight wasn’t about competitiveness, it was about smarts,” said Head Coach John Hynes.
It may have been a late puck drop in Bridgestone Arena, but Glass wanted to get the scoring started early. Mikael Granlund earned his first assist of the night as he sent his pass forward from center ice to a rushing Glass. The 2017 sixth overall draft pick earned his 10th NHL goal and his first in the Preds uniform after going top-shelf.
In the second period, the Kings spent 1:06 with a 5-on-3 advantage as Roman Josi and Jeremy Lauzon sat in the penalty box. Shortly after Josi’s time expired, Gabriel Vilardi slipped one behind Juuse Saros to tie the score at 1-1 with 15:56 remaining in the period.
Just as the Preds looked like they were losing their spark in the offensive zone, Filip Forsberg shows up and doesn’t leave the ice until after his goal celebration. He tried to create some magic with Ryan McDonough, but Cal Peterson made the save.
After a line change, Matt Duchene picks up the puck from behind the net. He passes it over to Granlund who makes his way to the circle, spotting Forsberg setting up on the opposite side. With three defenders separating the two, Forsberg fires a shot to earn his 222nd NHL career goal and push a 2-1 lead.
After Colton Sissons won the puck battle along the boards, he finds Tanner Jeannot waiting behind the net. He pushes the lead to 3-1 with his wrap-around goal.
The Predators never trailed on the scoreboard throughout 60 minutes of play, but Matt Roy only needed the final seven minutes of the game to be the difference maker.
“If you take the third period for example, our play with the puck was deficient. Our decision making was deficient, so we had to defend. We were under siege,” said Hynes. “Our objective going into the third period was number one, penalty discipline. Number two was firm puck plays and smart decisions and get to a forecheck game… We failed to do all three.”
With seven minutes remaining in the final frame, Brenden Lemieux led the rush and centered a pass in front of Saros. The puck was re-directed off Roy’s skate for the Kings to put the score within one.
Following the face-off, there was a lot of pressure in front of Saros. Adrian Kempe threw the puck in front and created a lot of traffic at the net. With no whistle blown, the teams continued to scramble as Saros lost his stick. Former Pred Kevin Fiala was able to grab the puck and drew his team out to the perimeter to set up. After a few attempted shots, Ryan Johansen blocked a shot that allowed the Preds to regain possession. Johansen sent a pass across the ice to Nino Niederreiter and joined him for a 2-on-1 break. Niederreiter’s shot attempt hit the post.
With less than three minutes left, the Kings were aggressively trying to tie the game. Niederreiter’s stick broke after blocking a shot from Brant Clarke. As he goes to the bench for a new stick, Roy’s shot finds its way behind a sprawled out Josi and Saros to tie the game.
“I think we just stopped playing offense… I think we’re taking on way too much heat,” said Forsberg. “We’ve got to be able to make plays under pressure. We know they’re going to come out hard with their forecheck. In the third. They’re obviously down two and desperate. That’s definitely something to work on going forward.”
During overtime, both teams had great scoring chances. However, goaltenders Saros and Peterson managed to put a stop to everything that came their way.
Vilardi earned the lone goal in the shootout for the Kings to walk away with the victory. Preds shooters Matt Duchene, Forsberg and Josi could not answer with one of their own.
The Predators took a total of nine penalties throughout the game. According to Alex Daugherty, this is the sixth time in franchise history they have allowed 8+ penalty kill opportunities in one game.
“What did we take, like nine penalties tonight? Six of the nine were in the offensive zone or the neutral zone. That’s not that’s not going to put you in position to be able to have success, so that’s the first area I’ve got to address,” said Hynes.
The Predators will travel to Columbus to visit Mathieu Olivier and the Blue Jackets (1-3-0) as they look to snap their three-game losing streak.