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Nashville Predators 4, Los Angeles Kings 1: Saros lights-out in W

The Preds continued their road trip with a stop in Los Angeles.

While the Kings got out to a strong start, the first goal of the game came seconds into a delayed LA penalty when Yakov Trenin finished off a sequence started by Cody Glass to put the Preds on the board at 8:47. Unfortunately, the Preds weren’t able to build on that, and moments later Roman Josi took a slashing penalty that further hindered Nashville’s attempts.

The Preds were able to kill off that penalty, then made it through the four-on-four when Michael McCarron and Adrian Kempe exchanged unsportsmanlike greetings, but continued to get into penalty trouble as the period continued. Cole Smith was whistled for high-sticking David Rittich at 17:44, and then a missed call against a Kings player led to Trenin getting sent to the box halfway through the penalty kill.

LA didn’t waste much time with the two-skater advantage, and Kevin Fiala tied the game 1-1 with under a minute to go in the first. The Preds were able to kill off Trenin’s penalty, and before too long got a chance on the power play of their own when Trevor Lewis tripped Colton Sissons. Despite their attempts, they weren’t able to score, and the teams returned to five a side.

Nashville finally found some energy and got some offensive pressure of their own going. Several good shifts in a row were finally rewarded with a Mark Jankowski goal to make it 2-1 Preds at 14:46, and just a moment later Fiala took an offensive-zone penalty during a puck battle to give the Preds another power play.

Again, however, the Kings’ effective penalty kill went to work, and the Nashville advantage was nullified. By far the best opportunity was shorthanded, a fantastic Lewis breakaway with seconds left in the Fiala penalty, but Juuse Saros was able to cover the puck and get the whistle. Time ran out on the second period with no further score.

LA got out to a strong start to the third, bringing relentless pressure to bear on the Preds. A couple of turnovers gave the Preds some chances–Kiefer Sherwood had a great one about halfway through the period–but Rittich made the saves he had to make. Next it was Saros’s turn to make a massive stop on Quinton Byfield, counterattacking after a good shift by the Preds.

Jeremy Lauzon drew a penalty and got the Preds their third chance of the period on the power play, but yet again the Kings’ penalty kill shut them down. LA went back on the attack, and with 3:26 left in regulation Rittich headed to the bench for the extra attacker. Colton Sissons scored an empty-net goal on the Preds’ second clearing attempt, getting rewarded for some hard work throughout the game and giving the Preds a little more of a cushion.

The Kings continued to try to find the equalizer, but Nashville also got some possession of their own in, forcing the Kings to defend in their own zone with the net empty. Saros made a few more great saves, and Lauzon added a second empty-netter with just under a minute to go.

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