Nashville Predators 3, Los Angeles Kings 1: New Second Line Sparks Preds Regulation Victory

Colton Sissons, international man of mystery.

The Nashville Predators had another late game against a struggling Southern California team, this time the Los Angeles Kings. Kyle Turris, who has struggled since returning from injury, was a healthy scratch. Pekka Rinne started tonight’s game as well, and even though it might have been nice for Juuse Saros to get a little more time as the season grinds on Rinne handled things well.

The game started out slow, but about five minutes in Calle Järnkrok drew a penalty and the Predators got a chance on the power play. Alas, Filip Forsberg did not repeat his performance from Tuesday night, and the Preds were easily held off the board. The period inched slowly on until the Kings drew a penalty with a good sustained cycle in the offensive zone.

Nick Bonino got a shorthanded shot on net early on in the power play, and the Predators followed that up with another shorthanded play, and after a brief sequence in which the Kings got into the Preds’ zone and Rinne had to make a save, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson connected on a two-on-one to score the first goal of the game just after the penalty expired.

Since the first penalty went so well, the Preds opted to take another, with Wayne Simmonds heading to the box this time. Colton Sissons and Roman Josi broke in together early on that penalty kill, but although they kept the Kings from doing much of anything the Preds were unable to convert again on that special-teams sequence, or again for the rest of the period.

Early in the second, the Kings were able to tie it after Roman Josi lost track of his assignment (Kings forward Austin Wagner). Matt Irwin had tried to make a defensive play, recovering the puck by hitting the puck-carrier, and managed the hit but not the recovery; Josi’s miss sealed the deal for the Kings. Just a bad sequence in a bad period.

The JOFA line with Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban finally showed up for the second period a little more than halfway through, with some extended zone time and a scoring chance. Arvidsson got knocked off his feet, a throwback to earlier seasons, and the five-skater unit made Quick work for every save, but he managed to make them all.

The rest of the forwards have been mostly unnoticeable at even strength, but Forsberg, Johansen, and Arvidsson followed up that great shift with another good one not long after. This shift also featured Yannick Weber crashing the net and almost putting in the rebound. In the end, though, it was Craig Smith who gave the Predators back the lead, picking up a rebound from Sissons. That seemed to wake the rest of the team up, though Sissons again was the one to pad the lead, putting the Preds up 3-1 with two minutes left in the period.

The Predators continued their solid play to start the third, but things slowed down for a bit after that. Arvidsson had a chance to reach 30 and give the fans frosties, but opted for the pass instead of the shot and lost possession. Pekka Rinne had to make some saves as the period continued, and then made it more exciting for himself by sending the puck back into play at one point.

Ultimately the Preds ended up hanging on for the regulation W, an exciting change and a small scheduling mercy for a game that started this late.

Random Observations

  • Okay, I made tea. (It’s a bad time of year to be trying to cut down on caffeine.)
  • The power play does not look as improved as Willy Daunic and Chris Mason would like us to believe it is.
  • Ten pushups for Bobby.
  • Preds-Kings games are always—okay, the 7-6 mess a few years ago wasn’t boring, but otherwise... Who put this at the latest possible start time, again?
  • Oh right, Ilya Kovalchuk exists.
  • Oof. Quick allows a shorthanded goal and then immediately gets rammed into his own net by his own defender.
  • Please stay in your net, Pekka
  • Quick is welcome to keep going a-wandering, though.
  • Viktor Arvidsson, never leave us
  • Maybe Matt Irwin could get scratched and Kyle Turris could take a spin on the third d-pair? He’s not gonna fit in on the top four but he might be an okay sixth defender.
  • I don’t think it’s fair that the Preds get to take a second-period nap and we don’t.
  • Actually, with the game Josi’s having I’m willing to entertain the idea of Turris visiting a spot in the top four.
  • The Preds are finally playing well during a second period! That’s good.
  • Rinne and Quick are bad influences on each other.
  • I really want Rinne to score a goal. Alas, not tonight./

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Colton Sissons: great game on a good-looking second line. They played pretty decent hockey, too.
  2. Pekka Rinne: solid performance in net. Or, uh, near net.
  3. Viktor Arvidsson: gave us hope early, and this time the team followed through.

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