Predators defeat Kings 3-2, go 3-1 on pivotal road trip

The Nashville Predators successfully shook off the disappointment from Thursday's meltdown against San Jose by closing out their road trip with a 3-2 win at Los Angeles this afternoon. The win gives Nashville a 3-point lead over Detroit for 7th place in the Western Conference, while Calgary is one more point back in 9th (they play tonight in Vancouver).

Pekka Rinne made 18 saves, and the Predators outshot Los Angeles 31-20 on their way to the win. After the jump, we've got reaction and the advanced even-strength statistics. Video highlights can be found in the widget on the right-hand sidebar...

I can only speak to the final period (feel free to add your comments below about the first two), but once again we saw the characteristic resolve that the Predators show under adversity. Entering the final period tied at one, the Kings took a 2-1 lead when Dustin Brown picked a puck off the sideboards and walked in between the circles to fire a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne.

The Predators, however, wasted no time in firing back. Martin Erat carried the puck into the L.A. zone and surprisingly cut towards the net, drawing the attention of the entire Kings defense. He didn't score, but he left a loose puck just off the crease that Colin Wilson batted home to tie the game, only 39 seconds after falling behind.

From there on, the Preds did a good job battling their way to the net, and around the boards in the offensive zone. They pulled ahead on just such a play, working the cycle until David Legwand peeled out from behind the net and fed the puck back to Dan Hamhuis at the point. He fired the puck on net where Patric Hornqvist tipped the initial shot, then swept the rebound around Jonathan Quick and into the Kings net for a 3-2 lead with just 3:31 remaining. It was Hornqvist's 26th goal of the season, giving him an outside chance of catching Jason Arnott's team record of 33 in a season with just 13 games left after today.

The final minutes were a mad scramble to keep the Kings from getting good scoring chances, and that went mostly well; they really only got one dangerous shot off the entire time. With the win, the Preds have started of Part 2 of Chris' stretch drive analysis with a big win, as they return home for a 3-game set. With this road trip behind them, the Predators now have 9 of their remaining 13 games this season on home ice.

Will you be there to help them take advantage???

Having wrapped up a critical four-game road trip, the Predators return home for three games this week, Tuesday vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday vs. the Minnesota Wild, and Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Be sure to check out our ticket discount offer for Nashville Predators games.

What a difference a few days make for Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, eh? After having their worst game of the season Thursday at San Jose, they bounced right back into premier form this afternoon. When these two tip the ice in Nashville's favor, it provides a huge boost to the forward lines they support.

Notice one other nifty fact? Every forward fired at least one even-strength shot on goal. That's what scoring by committee is all about, and why the Preds may not have a single player hit 50 points, yet have an above-average NHL offense as a team.

Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Joel Ward R 18:37 3 0 0 1 10 4 6 16 11 5
 Colin Wilson C 18:05 3 0 1 0 12 6 6 18 17 1
 Jason Arnott C 16:09 3 1 1 1 12 5 7 16 14 2
 Marcel Goc C 16:02 2 1 0 0 5 3 2 15 4 11
 Jerred Smithson R 15:51 1 0 0 0 7 6 1 11 13 -2
 Martin Erat R 15:29 4 0 0 0 12 5 7 16 11 5
 David Legwand C 15:11 3 0 1 0 8 5 3 10 14 -4
 Patric Hornqvist R 14:13 3 0 1 0 5 3 2 13 5 8
 Steve Sullivan L 11:57 1 0 0 0 4 2 2 11 4 7
 Dustin Boyd C 11:40 1 0 1 0 6 5 1 12 7 5
 J P Dumont R 9:37 1 0 0 0 6 4 2 11 5 6
 Jordin Tootoo R 8:57 2 2 1 0 3 6 -3 7 12 -5
 Ryan Suter D 25:05 2 2 1 0 18 6 12 28 11 17
 Shea Weber D 25:02 1 0 3 2 18 6 12 29 12 17
 Dan Hamhuis D 19:50 0 1 2 1 7 6 1 13 14 -1
 Francis Bouillon D 19:39 0 0 0 1 6 7 -1 13 19 -6
 Kevin Klein D 17:32 0 2 0 2 8 8 0 15 17 -2
 Cody Franson D 7:24 0 0 1 0 3 3 0 6 5 1
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