Saturday, December 28, 2013

Predators Snap Losing Streak, Defeat Kings 3-2

The Nashville Predators faced the Los Angeles Kings in the throes of a 5 game losing streak. Ending that streak, even at home at Bridgestone Arena, was going to be a tough task against  a talented Kings squad that sits currently third in the Western Conference standings.

The Predators did the improbable, defeating the Kings 3-2 in a spirited and scrappy affair. Mike Fisher tallied two goals, including the game winner with 26 seconds left to stop a five game losing skid.

The Predators opened the scoring at 14:42 of the first period as Mike Fisher's shot was kicked off the pads by Kings goalie Ben Scrivens. Patric Hornqvist, stationed in his customary spot just outside the crease was able to backhand the puck past Scrivens for a 1-0 Predators lead. This was Hornqvist's first goal in six games.

The Kings tied the game at 7:05 of the second period on the power play as Anze Kopitar took a shot from the face off circle that beat Predators netminder Marek Mazanec to the far post.

The Predators took a 2-1 lead at 16:42 of the third period. With the Predators on the power play, the Kings dumped the puck out of the zone, but it was quickly gathered in the neutral zone by Hornqvist, who got the puck to Fisher. The Kings went for a line change on the clear, but since the puck did not get deep, Fisher was able to gain the zone and drive unimpeded into the high slot. his slap shot beat Scrivens five hole for the goal.

With Scrivens off for the extra attacker, Jeff Carter blasted a shot from the point past Mazanec to tie the game with 36 seconds left in regulation.

On the ensuing faceoff, the Predators got the puck into the zone. Colin Wilson got a shot on net that Scrivens could not control. Fisher drove the net and was able to just slide the rebound over the goal line with 26 seconds left.

The Predators were able to keep the Kings from getting a quality scoring chance in the final seconds, and the miserable five game funk was finally over.

Some observations:

  • The Kings are talented, but they are also big and physical. The Predators were able to match the physical play of the Kings which went a long way to helping secure this win.
  • The Predators stepped up their play in the third period with the game in the balance. They out shot the Kings 15-0 and did a much better job of puck possession and controlling the play. This kind of effort, especially in the third period of the five previous losses, had been absent. It was good to see this response from the Predators.
  • Seth Jones played some solid minutes tonight, and more than doubled his ice time compared to recent games. Tonight, he had 19:08 of ice time and picked up two assists.
  • Fisher has been playing some good, aggressive hockey, even during this losing streak. Tonight, it was good to see his effort and hustle rewarded with some goals. Fisher logged some tough minutes and led all forwards with 21:58 of ice time.
  • David Legwand, Gabriel Bourque, Matt Hendricks, and Nick Spaling were the only Predator forwards not to record a shot on goal. These guys, Legwand and Bourque in particular, have to be more productive offensively. 
  • Matt Cullen played a strong game. he is creative offensively, strong on the puck, and won 6 of 7 faceoffs.
  • Mazanec made some good saves tonight, and stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced. The shot by Carter to tie the game was a blast, but it was an unscreened shot that Mazanec has to stop. This was the best effort by a Predators netminder in a while, and hopefully it gives mazanec some confidence going forward.
The Predators won by out working the Kings in the third period.

They have to continue to bring this kind of work ethic if they are going to string together some wins.

My three stars:

1. Mike Fisher

2. Patric Hornqvist

3. marek mazanec

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