Kings fall prey to the Predators yet again

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson, left, takes the puck just before scoring on Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during the third period of their NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 14, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Predators won 3-2. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Game 67: Predators 3, Kings 2

it's almost been a year since the Kings last beat the Predators. Six games, six losses. Their last match, just last week, was particularly discouraging.

With Jonathan Quick back in net for the Kings after becoming a father, the Kings were after it again. Unfortunately, they were outplayed once again by the Predators.

Several players did bring their game for L.A. Anze Kopitar was a monster in the faceoff dot, winning 71 percent of the drops. He also scored his 32nd goal of the season, a power play goal that tied the game in the first period. Dustin Brown also lit the lamp for the Kings, putting the Kings up by a goal in the third period. He also doled out 4 hits. Matt Greene was a human weapon of mass destruction, blocking shots and knocking people down. And Michal Handzus led all the forwards in time on the ice and had 5 hits to boot.

But the story of the game (other than it being Burger King Jersey Appreciation Day) was the disallowed goal by Justin Williams and the following allowed goal by Patric Hornqvist left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

But bad calls happen in hockey. It's how you respond that is important. The Kings only mustered 20 shots on Penne Rinne, including only five in the third period. That fact speaks volumes of how the game went.

Were they tired? Were they prepared? Were they screwed? Who cares? They put it a lackluster performance, and allowed the Predators to sneak ever closer to the Kings in the standings. And they have three games at home, which should allow for some recuperating time for Quick and the boys.

• AP: Hornqvist’s late goal leads Predators past Kings
After getting the better break on two strange instances of apparent goaltender interference in the third period at Staples Center, Nashville is firmly in seventh place in the Western Conference standings, just four points behind the fifth-place Kings and rising.
• LA Times: Calls don't go Kings' way in 3-2 loss to Predators
And when Nashville scored minutes later on what the Kings said really was a penalty that wasn't called, the Predators skated out of Staples Center with a 3-2 win that left the home team's players with a foul taste in their mouths.
• LA Kings: Kings stung by Predators
Video review appeared to show Quick being pulled out of position, in the crease, by the stick of Nashville's Martin Erat, but as with the Smyth call, it was not reviewable. Not surprisingly, the exchange didn't sit well with the Kings.
They said it
“I saw the play on both ends. If you’re going to call it one way, call it the other way. But he made his call based on what he saw, and it didn’t work out in our favor.” – Ryan Smyth, on the goalie-interference call, and subsequent non-call
“This game was two points that we wanted, that we did not get. At the end of the day we need to play better. We have to go back to the drawing board. We have a couple of days off here, then practice, and then we play Chicago.” – Jonathan Quick, on the game
“They’re a pretty solid team. Tonight — I shouldn’t say just tonight — but they play a good, solid team game and they come very consistently, shift after shift. That’s the difference right now. When we play them, we have a (good) shift here and there, but when you have a team that plays that consistently, you can’t have shifts off.” – Dustin Brown, on the Kings’ struggles against Nashville
 “In this game, you have to be able to protect a one-goal lead. That’s the way it is. It comes down to critical times, 2-1 games, 3-2 games. That’s the number-one criteria for a team, is to be able to protect those leads.” – Terry Murray, on losing a third-period lead
Across the Kingdom

• LAKingsNews: NHL referee Dean Morton, Predators defeat the Kings
But at the end of the day, or in this case, the mid-afternoon, every facet of the Kings game needs improvement. None of the lines worked. Nobody was forechecking. I don’t even know what the hell the defense thought they were doing out there.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Preds Have Kings Number... Again 3-2
But the truth of the matter is, when you've lost 6 straight games against a team, professional bettors will tell you, "never buck a trend" and the Kings just weren't up to the task... at 11am (12:00 with the time change)
• Inside Hockey's Brian Kennedy: Kings Lag on Daylight Savings Day
(Quick) didn’t look terribly sharp early on in the game Sunday, though neither did any of his defensemen. The goal saw him not quite set and so a little too deep in his net to block the shot on the proper angle. It squeezed just inside the post, barely hitting the twine on the net’s left side.
• Jewels From the Crown: A Study of Short Term Memory Impairment in Ref Population
Smyth really did bump Pekka Rinne, so I don't mind the call. AS LONG AS A FEW SECONDS LATER THE SAME EXACT PLAY DOESN'T OCCUR AT THE OTHER END OF THE ICE AND THE VERY SAME REF MAKES THE OPPOSITE CALL.  Worse: Smyth barely touched Rinne, while Jonathan Quick was dragged away from a LOOSE PUCK IN THE CREASE. It didn't happen quickly, and it wasn't hidden from anyone's view. In real time it almost felt like the whole thing played out in slow-motion. The refs? Didn't see it.
• Anthony's Arena Analysis: So You're Not A Morning Person? Kings Vs Predators
The intensity was not there at all, no game specifics to marvel at our bring up, besides Clune once again going crazy on some forward. I’ve walked past him downstairs before games and I can tell you…he’s actually Smaller than he even looks on the ice, lol. But he’ll fight literally anybody without fear.
• Purple Crushed Velvet: Counting My Eggs Before They're Hatched...But Whatever.
If the Kings make the playoffs they are going to be so screwed if they have to play Phoenix or Nashville.  I don't understand why the Kings have so much difficulty beating's borderline embarrassing.
From across the aisle, the Nashville viewpoint

• On The Forecheck: Predators defeat Kings 3-2, go 3-1 on pivotal road trip
The final minutes were a mad scramble to keep the Kings from getting good scoring chances, and that went mostly well; they really only got one dangerous shot off the entire time.
• What The Puck: Weekend Wrap Up: California Nightmare Became Sweet Dream
Add in yesterday’s win at LA and you’re looking at a pretty successful road trip for the boys; one that could have gone horribly wrong after Thursday night had the team not used the “put it behind us and move on” philosophy.
• FanHuddle: Preds dethrone Kings, edge LA 3-2
It was the second time on this road trip alone that the opponents of the Predators had goals waived off because the goalie was unable to make a play on the puck. It would have tied the game for Atlanta at the start of the road trip and it was a potential go-ahead goal tonight for the Kings.
Peeping the dailies

Here's Jordin Tootoo vs. Richard (The Clune-atic) Clune


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