After falling behind 3-0, the LA Kings could not complete the comeback, falling 4-2 to the Nashville Predators on Thursday evening.
NSH: Forsberg (18), Assists: Josi (20), Granlund (26)
NSH: Duchene (14), Assists: Forsberg (11), Josi (21)
NSH: Luff (1), Assists: McCarron (1), Cousins (5)
LAK: Brown (5), Unassisted
LAK: Frk (1), Assists: Doughty (14), Arvidsson (11)
NSH: Trenin (8), Assists: Jeannot (11), Sissons (11)
Shots on goal:
Faceoff percentage (%)
Some things that stood out
Predators powerplay is legit
Yes, the officiating was questionable at best on the Kings’ first two penalty kills, but you cannot give the sixth-best powerplay unit in the National Hockey League multiple opportunities. Filip Forsberg opened the scoring with a wicked wrist shot from the right dot over Jonathan Quick‘s shoulder.
Just a dart from Fil. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/k6BUnw086t— NHL (@NHL) January 7, 2022
Then Matt Duchene, who is so good around the net, potted his 14th goal of the year on the Preds’ second powerplay, making it a 2-0 Nashville lead. You’d like to see a little better defensive effort from Rasmus Kupari on that play.
Welcome back, Dustin Brown
In COVID protocol since December 26, Dustin Brown returned to practice earlier this week, setting the stage for him to return on Thursday. And return, he did. The 37-year-old potted his fifth goal of the season in the middle frame, intercepting a whiffed shot attempt by the Predators in the Kings’ d-zone. Brown took it the distance, putting a really nice move on Saros, and burying the puck.
“I had a breakaway from our zone, so I didn’t want to think too much about it. I was going to shoot, but he was a little bit off his angle, he adjusted and I just made a move, a move I’ve done before. Breakaway, is what it is,” Brown said of his goal.
Martin Frk scores on the PP
At times, it felt like Anze Kopitar and others were trying to force pucks onto Martin Frk‘s stick for the one-timer. As a result, the Kings coughed up the puck, and the Predators were able to clear the zone in the first three powerplay opportunities.
Then in the third period, with Kopitar in front of the net, Frk blasted a one-timer from above the right circle that flew by Saros, cutting the Predators lead to just one.
The Kings went 1-for-4 on the powerplay on Thursday and have converted just three times in their last 26 opportunities. Hopefully, Frk’s conversion was a step in the right direction.
“Marty played well, let’s face it, he did what we asked him to do coming up here, shoot the puck in the net,” Todd McLellan said of Frk’s season debut. “He was the one guy that finished on the power play, good for him. He wasn’t afraid to shoot it, he wasn’t a liability defensively, a real good night for him.”
Season-high 48 shots on goal
As has been the theme for most of the season, the LA Kings had no shortage of shot volume. McLellan’s group recorded a season-high 48 shots on Juuse Saros, including 21 in the third period, but they came away with just two goals. Brown’s breakaway goal seemed to light a fire on the Kings’ bench, but these guys have to be able to finish. Plain and simple.
“If you look at our 5-on-5 play, I think we outplayed them, the whole night, from start to finish, the very first shift was really good,” Brown said. “We gave up two powerplay goals, empty net. It’s one of those games where, 5-on-5 I think we’re the better team, but that’s not always the way it goes.”
Special teams were, indeed, the difference.
The LA Kings (16-13-5) are back at it on Saturday, hosting the Detroit Red Wings (16-15-3) with puck drop set for 7:30 PM PT.