Game 8; 5-3-0
NASHVILLE – They wanted to gain some momentum heading back home and that’s just what the Los Angeles Kings did. While they certainly didn’t dominate the game, one man in particular set the tone for the game, leading the silver-and-black to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators.
After getting pulled last game after allowing three goals on 17 shots, Jonathan Quick was in net again as the Kings closed out their four-game road swing hoping to avenge their disappointing showing in Tampa two nights earlier.
If Quick was out to prove he was better than how he fared the previous game, he wasted no time doing so.
In an opening period that turned out to be a shootout with each team exchanging 15 shots, both netminders stood tall. Despite both Quick and Pekka Rinne being deemed world-class netminders, neither has had the start to the season they would have hoped. Thursday night in Nashville, however, was a different story.
The Preds got on the board first as veteran Matt Cullen took quick advantage of a defensive mistake by Willie Mitchell for his first of the season at 10:33 of the first. Despite allowing the goal, Jonathan Quick made a spectacular save to keep the game scoreless but had to see the home team take the lead thanks to said defensive lapse.
The Kings, however, were undeterred. With just 41 seconds remaining in the first, Slava Voynov scored his second in as many games to knot things up. Mike Richards and Kyle Clifford assisted on the tally.
In the second, Nashville came out swinging as they opened the period outshooting the Kings 6-0 – but it didn’t matter as Quick stood tall making saves with his legs, his arms and yes, even his head to keep the game tied.
The special teams was non-existent on this night with both clubs going 0-for-4 on the man-advantage, although Mike Richards was close to giving Los Angeles the late lead after finding himself on a shorthanded breakaway.
After remaining tied in regulation and exchanging a pair of shots in overtime, the game went to a shootout where, again, Quick stood tall adding to his 35 saves to keep the Predators frustrated.
Meanwhile, on their third attempt, the Kings won thanks to Anze Kopitar who made no mistake on Rinne to finish Los Angeles’s road trip with an impressive 3-1-0 mark.
As for Seth Jones, he was only able to register one shot as the Kings were successful in keeping the big rookie off the scoresheet.
While he certainly hasn’t had a terrible start to the year by any means, Jonathan Quick’s 35-save performance was, in my mind (and pardon the cliché), just what the doctor ordered.
While their offense and power play still lacks punch, their goaltending certainly isn’t an issue if Thursday was any indication.
Now, it’s back home for the Kings as they embark on a homestand where they will play eight of their next nine at Staples Center – and it begins on Saturday night where they will host their now-former division rival in the Dallas Stars.