Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Game Recap: Kings Break Streaks, Beat Preds 2-0

Coach Barry Trotz speaks

Pekka Rinne, Dan Hamhuis, Joel Ward and Steve Sullivan speak

Terry Murray, Jonathan Bernier, Jack Johnson, and Matt Green speak

The Los Angeles Kings came into Music City on a four game losing streak and had also lost seven in a row to the Nashville Predators. Both streaks were snapped in a 2-0 victory over the Preds when rookie Jonathan Bernier stopped all 34 shots that Nashville sent his way.

Scott Parse scored the game winner at 7:50 in the third period on a play where there was a lot of traffic in front of Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne and he was able to slip it into the net.

The Kings got an insurance goal from Sean O'Donnell with 2:01 left in the game. Both teams were down a man due to a double cross checking penalty that had sent Steve Sullivan and Drew Doughty to the bench at 16:45.

The Kings held on through the last two minutes of the game as the Preds were unable to mount a charge during the goalie pull.

Bernier was near perfect on the evening and never seemed to lose composure when pressured by the Predator attack.

Pekka Rinne actually played a great game making several highlight reel saves before giving up the two late goals. For the game Rinne stopped 29 of 31 King's shots.

The Predators remained in fifth place in the Western Conference by the slimmest of margins. With Detroit and Los Angeles winning, the Preds are only a point ahead of the Wings and two points ahead of the Kings. Both teams have two extra games to play and accumulate additional points.

Storylines From The Game

Jonathan Bernier's First Career Shutout...

Jonathan Bernier played with the composure far beyond what you would expect from a 21 year old who had only played five prior NHL games.

He was elated after the game saying, "It's great! The guys had a really good game. They played the way they are capable of playing. We blocked shots at the right time and their sticks did not allow deflections."

Coach Terry Murry was complementary of Bernier, "He had a pretty big game here today. This is a building where we haven't had much success. You see his composure in net. The season he has played in the minors has done good things for him. He's showing signs of becoming a really good goaltender at this level."

Predators Third Period Let Down...

The Predators continue to struggle, giving up a pair of critical goals in the third period, in three of the last four games.

Monday night, the Preds fell behind Florida when they gave up two goals in the third before coming back to tie and win in overtime.

Last Tuesday, against the Stars, the Preds gave up two goals in the third to lose 3-1. A similar scenario happened on Thursday against the Coyotes when the Preds gave up two goals late in the third and were forced to overtime before eventually winning in a shootout.

"I don't think our energy was where it needed to be tonight, mentally or physically," stated Dan Hamhuis. "Mentally, we didn't have the urgency. It has been a long month and the schedule lightens up here in the next week so we can re-energize."

Predators Scoring Scarcity....

Tuesday's game was the second straight game where the Preds were shutout at home. Last Saturday against the Wings, neither team dampened the net until the shootout.

Barry Trotz commented, "We weren't sharp in the first period, but in the second and third, we shot hard but couldn't get one by them and they capitalized on their chances. This time of year, it's been tough to score. The last seven games have been 0-0 or 1-1 for most of it and there's not much going on in terms of offense."

"It's been tough, I don't know what the reason is, " said Pekka Rinne. "Tonight their goalie played really well and I don't want to take too much away from him. It's all about execution, having guys screening and staying in front of the net. Maybe we need to improve that side of the game a little bit."

Up Next...

The Predators will take Wednesday off before returning to the ice on Thursday at the Bridgestone Arena against the St. Louis Blues. After that, they will play in Detroit on Saturday, in Phoenix next Wednesday, and then return home on April 10 for the season finale against the Blues.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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