Predators take a bite from Kings' confidence

Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Nashville Predators tries to poke the puck away from Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings on March 4, 2010 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 63: Predators 4, Kings 2

Don't look now, but the Predators are making noise down in Nashville. And it sounds more like Old Time Hockey than the Grand Ole Opry.

For some reason, the Kings don't play the Predators particularly well. They have lost five games in a row to the Preds, reaching back into last season. But that was before the Kings really started to gel and come into focus as the fourth best team in the West (and in the league, according to some)

The Kings pick up where they left off last game, playing with a white-hot intensity that seemed to stun the Nashville bench. And when Alexander Frolov scored with less than 60 seconds gone, it looked as if this game was going to be different.

But four minutes later, Jonathan Quick mishandles a puck behind the Kings net, and Sean O'Donnell blows a tire and falls to the ice. That allows J.P. Dumont to pop in the tying goal. At first it was an unassisted goal, but then they added two assists to Steve Sullivan and Dan Hamhuis. That left me scratching my bald dome. Once Quick touches the puck, doesn't that negate whoever touched it last for Nashville?

Whatever. Dumont's goal had the same effect on the Kings bench as Frolov's goal did earlier. The Kings were completely dumbfounded, and played the rest of the game playing catch up.

The Kings' two newest acquisitions Frederik Modin and Jeff Halpern played on the fourth line with Scott Parse, and weren't that effective. Nor did I expect them to. Being the new kids in school, it should take them a few games to learn the new system.

The Kings continue to play well on the penalty kill, negating four out of five penalties. IN their last nine games, the Kings have killed off 86 percent of their penalties. But they looked horrible in the second period when Jason Arnott scored his power play goal, and that's when the game started to unravel, in my opinion. Quick gave up another puck behind the net, this time to Marcel Goc, which proved to be the nail in the coffin.

Drew Doughty was able to score a power play goal in the third, with assists to Ryan Smyth and Kopitar, assuring my fantasy team some points from this debacle. But that was as close as they got.

So the Kings head home to take on their 1993 nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens. Too bad Michael Cammalleri is injured, because I'm sure he would be well-received. The Kings haven't beaten the Habs since 2003 (!) which is amazing to me. But Staples Center will be rocking to welcome home their Olympic heroes back from Vancouver. And Michal Handzus too. The game was heartbreaking...

• AP: Predators beat Kings 4-2
“We made a little mistake there, and they capitalized,” Doughty said. “It was a great shot by Arnott off of a great pass from Erat.”
• LA Times: Kings start fast, then sputter in 4-2 loss to Nashville
"The first goal against is the one that unraveled us," Kings Coach Terry Murray said. "From that point on, we did not regain our composure to play the game the proper way. That is the one that kicked open the door for them. They fed off the break and just started to do things in the offensive zone."
• LA Kings: Kings topped by Predators
When a team’s best minute of the game is its first minute, that’srarely a good sign. For the Kings on Thursday night, it certainly was’t.
They said it
“The first goal against is the one that unraveled us. From that point, we did not regain our composure in the game in the proper way. It just became easy for them. We ended up, at times in the second period, just watching. They recognized that and just kept building off the momentum they got off plays earlier in that period.” – Terry Murray, on the difference in the game
"We had the lead there. It’s a little unfortunate. We had the bounce that they scored on, but that’s hockey. The bounces are going to happen. The pucks are going to jump over the stick or take a bounce off the dashers. It’s one of those deals that you have to put that behind you and play normal the rest of the way. They had the momentum and we sat back.” – Anze Kopitar, on losing momentum after giving up the first goal
“We’ve been somewhat successful on our PK because we’ve been aggressive and stuff like that. We are forcing the other team to make that perfect pass. Obviously we made a little mistake there and they capitalized. It was a great shot by Arnott and a good pass by Erat there.” – Drew Doughty, on the overall strong penalty kill
SANFORD MYERS / THE TENNESSEAN Predators center David Legwand (11) ties up Kings left wing Ryan Smyth (94) as right wing Dustin Brown (23) spins away with the puck during the second period at Bridgestone Arena.
Around the Kingdom

• The Royal Half: Little Green Men
Fox Sports West HD also gave every hockey fan following a team in the middle of a playoff race exactly what they want in March... Spring Training reports in between periods!
• Mayors Manor: Kings lose some tread in Nashville
It was just one of those games. All of the hype coming in surrounded the four Olympic medal winning defenseman that would be featured in the game. Each team had an American and Canadian Olympian on the team, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber for Nashville...and of course, Doughty and Jack Johnson for the Kings. By the end of the game, none of that mattered. In fact, the Olympics seemed much further away at the end of the game than they did three hours earlier.
• LA Kings News: A couple of Quick goals spells loss for Kings
Credit the Kings on one thing in this poorly played loss. They never gave up. Tonight’s sucky outcome was not for lack of trying. This was entirely a case of just not having it as a unit, as opposed to individual players not giving it their all.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Nashville Has Kings Number With 4-2 Win
The coaches forgot to tell Jonathan Quick about the boneheaded move he made in the 1st period behind the net… so he did it again, turning the puck over and Marcel Goc made it 3-1 early in the 3rd.
• Jewels From The Crown: Gross: Nashville 4, Kings 2
I'm just going to put this game out of my memory bank and move on. I have every confidence in the world the Kings will bounce back for Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens. They'll look like their usual selves and all will be right with the world.
From across the aisle, the Nashville viewpoint

• Nashville Predators remain hot; Detroit Red Wings await
"They had been the hottest team in the National Hockey League," Predators Coach Barry Trotz said of Los Angeles. "They play a very structured game and they are well coached. They don't really beat themselves."
• The City Paper: Predators take advantage of Kings' giveaways in 4-2 victory
“Their goaltender made some sick saves out there for them,” Arnott, who scored a second-period power play goal, said. “We had a lot of backdoor plays that might have gone in on another night. I don’t know how he got across on some of them. He really kept them in it.”
• On The Forecheck: Nashville Predators top Kings 4-2, win 3rd straight
This was an odd game in that while the Predators dominated the 5-on-5 play fairly handily, Jonathan Quick's work in the Los Angeles net kept things close. Pekka Rinne also played well for the Predators, as he stopped 20 of 22 Kings shots, but Quick is the reason Los Angeles even had a chance in this game.
• Section 303: Preds gain two pint on L.A. with win
By beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 tonight, the Nashville Predators gained some important ground in the Western Conference standings. The Preds improve to 75 points, three points back from sixth place Colorado, four back from Phoenix and five from the Kings.
Peeping the dailies

Here's Dean Lombardi, talking about his acquisitions of Halpren and Modin to friend of the Hockeywood Insider podcast and snappy dresser Heidi Androl. Dig the track suit, Dino...


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  • March 5, 2010 5:37 PM Matt Reitz wrote:
    Hey Matt... they gave two assists on JP Dumont's goal because they ruled that Quick never had clear possession of the puck. The last two players to have POSSESSION were Sullivan and Hamhuis.

    Think of it kind of like a goal that goes off of a defender.
    Reply to this
    1. March 6, 2010 5:45 PM Matt wrote:
      Thanks for the clarification. See, Kings fans are the smartest fans in the NHL. With the exception of this blogger.
      Reply to this
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