As expected, it was a goaltending dual between arguably the best two netminders of the National Hockey League — Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne. Thursday night, Quick was able to get the best of the Nashville Predators, stopping thirty-four shots, while Rinne made twenty-nine saves in his losing effort. Lack of offense has given the Predators yet another loss this season. The Predators fell to the visiting Los Angeles Kings, 2-1, in a shootout.
The Predators had an excellent chance to score on the power play in overtime with Alec Martinez going to the box at 1:29. Too much cuteness and not enough shooting led to a successful penalty kill for the Kings and thus forced the game to play in the shootout.
Anze Kopitar netted the game-winner in the third round of the shootout after Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg and Matt Cullen failed to convert. Nashville's Matt Cullen and Los Angeles' Slava Voynov scored the lone goals for their respective teams in the first period.
With the Preds' loss, they move to 3-3-1, while the Kings improve to 5-3-0.
1. Power Play was brutal: Associate coach Phil Housley will have some work to do before hitting the road to play Saturday in Montreal. The power play Thursday night was not good, mainly due to the extreme pressure LA's penalty killers put on the puck carrier. Adjustments with the power play setup were necessary, but they were not made, evidently. To finish the night, Nashville went 0-for-4, totaling a mere five shots.
2. Stalberg not sharp: Since being taken off injured reserve for a shoulder injury, Viktor Stalberg has not looked sharp on the ice. His skating abilities have taken a step back, while his focus and attentiveness has been unapparent. When he's on the ice, he's almost unnoticeable, unless he makes a mistake. Watching Saturday and Thursday night's games, Stalberg has looked mediocre. Head coach Barry Trotz may need to send him a wakeup call by scratching him on 'Hockey Night in Canada' Saturday.
3. Quick's helmet: Twice during the Predators' overtime power-play, Jonathan Quick's helmet popped off and killed the momentum for the man advantage. The first time, his defenseman accidentally knocked it off — no big deal. The second time, a puck glazed the lower left strap of his helmet and snapped it off. I'm not saying Quick took the helmet off himself, by any means, but rather his helmet is quite delicate and needed to be looked at following the game.
Nonetheless, with the helmet coming off twice, the flow to get the power-play setup was destroyed, the reason they couldn't score the game-winner in OT.
4. Best game thus far? No: Pekka Rinne said after the game this was the best game the Predators have played this season. I will respectfully disagree only because the lack of offense is still apparent. The defense, penalty-killers and goaltending played an excellent game, but there were obvious frustrations by the players due to lack of communication. Colin Wilson slammed his stick on the ice after his linemate dumped the puck in for a line change while he was open for a pass cutting into the offensive zone.
There is a lot of work to be done with this squad and it was definitely not the best game this season.
1-0 NSH: Matt Cullen – Smith and Bourque at 10:33 in the 1st
1-1 tie: Slava Voynov – Richards and Clifford at 19:18 in the 1st
1-2 LA: Anze Kopitar in the shootout
NSH: Pekka Rinne (L) – 29 saves on 30 shots; 65:00
LAK: Jonathan Quick (W) – 34 saves on 35 shots; 65:00
My Three Stars
1. Jonathan Quick: 34 saves, Win
2. Slava Voynow: Goal
3. Pekka Rinne: 29 saves
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Spaling and Clune
Predators starters: Hendricks, Gaustad, Nystrom, Ekholm, Klein and Rinne
Kings scratches: Ellerby, Muzzin and Fraser
Kings starters: Carcillo, Richards, Carter, Greene, Mitchell and Quick