The Nashville Predators came from behind in the third period to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 at the Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Patric Hornqvist scored the game winner with three and a half minutes left in the game after Colin Wilson had tied the game earlier in the period. Steve Sullivan had the other goal for the Preds in the first period.
Anxe Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored goals for the Kings.
Pekka Rinne played well in the Preds net stopping 18 of 20 Kings shots. Jonathan Quick stopped 28 of 31 Predator shots and appeared to struggle at times in spite of a good effort.
The Predators got an early 1-0 lead at 4:42 in the first when Steve Sullivan skated in from the right of Jonathan Quick and fired a wrister from near the red line that hit Quick and deflected into the net. Ryan Suter and Marcel Goc assisted on the play.
The Kings came back to tie the game at 8:56 with a power play goal by Anze Kopitar who took a feed from Michal Handzus and buried it into the Preds net on a wrister from the slot. The King's man advantage was a result of a hooking penalty by Kevin Klien at 8:12.
For the first period, Nashville out shot Los Angeles 14-11 and led in the Corsi 24-14. The Predators came out with a lot of jump and were dominant early but the Kings came on stronger later in the period.
Early in the second period Jordin Tootoo and Rich Clune hooked up in a bit of a scuffle that produced no clear winner. The remainder of the period was a series of individual battles for the puck on both ends of the ice.
While there was no scoring in the middle stanza, there was no shortage of action. The Predators out shot the Kings 8-4 and led won the Corsi 16-12.
The third period started with a continuation of the same gritty play. Dustin Brown put the Kings ahead 2-1 at 5:56 when he beat Pekka Rinne from the left circle on a shot that Pekka may not have seen.
The Predators showed great resiliency when Colin Wilson tied the game 39 seconds later when he pushed the puck into the net after Marty Erat had driven to the net and Quick had made the stop. Jason Arnott also assisted on the score.
The Preds went ahead 3-2 at 16:29 when Patric Hornqvist picked up a rebound off Quick on a Dan Hamhuis shot and snapped it into the Kings net from just outside the blue ice. David Legwand received a secondary assist.
After surviving pressure from the Kings in the closing moments, the Predators held on for the 3-2 victory. The Preds out shot the Kings 9-5 in the third and 31-20 for the game. Nashville did an excellent job tying up the puck and limiting chances as the led the Corsi numbers 55-41.
Storylines From The Game
Great Resiliency and Physical Play by the Preds...
The Predators stuck with their game plan and never appeared to falter even when they fell behind early in the third period. The Preds responded to the brief King's lead with a goal 39 seconds later to take the wind out of the King's sails.
Even with it being their fourth game in six days, the Preds battled hard and out hit the Kings 21-19 and played a highly physical game, fighting for every inch of the ice and limiting the King's ability to get chances near the net.
Good Net Presence...
While the Preds were limiting the King's chances, they had excellent net presence continually crashing the net and making a nuisance of themselves in front of the King's net.
Both of the Predator's third period goals were a result of sticking around in front of the blue ice and putting loose pucks into the net. This has been a area that the Predators have not done well through the years but with Patric Hornqvist, Colin Wilson and others the team have improved this season.
Successful Road Trip...
With the exception of the collapse in the third period in San Jose on Thursday night, the Predators battled hard and competed for the entire road trip and came away with six of the eight available points. Since the Olympic break, the Preds are 5-3 and have held on to seventh place in the competitive Western Conference.
As the game ended, the Preds had 81 points with 13 games remaining. Detroit is three points back of the Preds with 14 games left while Calgary is four behind with 15 games to play.
After the long flight home on Sunday, the Preds will play six of their next seven games at the Bridgesone Arena starting with a game on Tuesday with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass