Late Defensive Blunders Costs Kings as They Hit Sour Note in Music City; Fall to 25-10-4
Game 39; 25-10-4
NASHVILLE - After starting the month of December on a high note, the Los Angeles Kings have now lost consecutive games for the first time since October 7, the third game of this regular season.
After losing to Dallas before the holiday break, the Kings were looking to right the ship - but it wasn't to be.
Ben Scrivens got the call in net in Nashville but it was the Predators who opened the scoring as Patric Hornqvist continued his great play against the silver-and-black scoring at 14:42 of the first.
In the second, the Kings were able to tie as Anze Kopitar, with his team on the power play, rifled his 12th into the top corner. The goal came at 7:05 and was assisted by Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty. And that was all the scoring until the final 3:30 of regulation.
In the third, the Preds came out strong outshooting the Kings 15-9, but Ben Scrivens kept the game tied with a few key saves. Unfortunately, the silver-and-black couldn't stop them all as Mike Fisher took advantage of a questionable decision by the Kings to change lines during a penalty-kill while in the neutral zone. Fisher took the puck, skated past the blue line and blistered a shot on Scrivens's stick side to give Nashville the late lead. But this game wasn't over just yet.
In the final minute with Scrivens pulled for an extra skater, the Kings were pressing hard to tie when Anze Kopitar fed a wide-open Jeff Carter in front who made no mistake on the one-timer to tie the game. The goal came with just 37 seconds remaining with Dwight King helping out with the other assist. This game was heading to overtime - or so it seemed.
Just 10 seconds after the tying goal, the Preds quickly caught Los Angeles on a defensive breakdown when Mike Fisher made a shot that confused Ben Scrivens who had the puck bounce of his shoulder and just across the goal line. While there was a review on the play, the goal stood and the Preds hung on for the 3-2 win.
For the Kings, Saturday's loss certainly wasn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination but a couple of costly mistakes that proved to be too much in the end. While I was angered with Scrivens on the game-winner, it likely wouldn't have happened without a defensive lapse by the guys in front of him that resulted in the Predators driving to the net as fast and as fluent as they did. Nashville's second goal should have been easily avoided as well as it's unclear why the Kings made a line change while shorthanded when the puck wasn't cleared into the Nashville zone. Needless to say, this was not the finish the Kings needed heading into Chicago on Monday.
Overall, a good effort by the Kings finished off by a few mistakes that unfortunately bit them in the arse. At 1-for-2, their power play was certainly opportune and even Scrivens played well stopping 28 shots. Dwight King also continues his great play with an assist and Kopitar and Carter, as previously mentioned, scored extending their respective hot streaks.
The Kings, however, will look to regroup on Monday as they visit the Madhouse with a date with the defending Cup champs.