David Legwand rescued the Nashville Predators from another third period in which they squandered a two-goal lead.
Legwand’s second goal of the game with 3:56 remaining lifted the Predators to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, two nights after they blew a two-goal advantage to Phoenix and ended up with a shootout loss.
”David was trying to get to the net in this game, and he was more detailed,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”His game is getting rewarded by working and paying the price. It was good to see him get a reward for some good hard work.”
Legwand and Shea Weber scored power-play goals in the first period, Eric Nystrom also scored, and Patric Hornqvist had three assists. Carter Hutton made 35 saves in his fourth straight start since Pekka Rinne went on the injured list because of an infection in his surgically repaired hip.
”He played unbelievable for us, and we need him to play like that day in and day out,” defenseman Seth Jones said. ”He’s been very consistent to this point and he’s kept us in games.
”A lot of guys were laying their bodies on the line there at the end, blocking shots.”
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Mike Richards scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick faced only 17 shots.
Center Jeff Carter, who had a hat trick against Nashville the last time the Predators visited Los Angeles on March 4, was placed on the injured list with a lower-body injury sustained in Wednesday’s overtime victory against San Jose.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods despite outshooting Nashville 24-11, the Kings got closer at 9:41 of the third when Brown threw the puck toward the net from the left boards, and it found its way inside the post.
”We had a lot of shots, but maybe we should have got a little bit more bodies in front of them,” Kopitar said. ”I think the game was decided by the special teams.”
Richards tied it for the Kings on the rebound of a wrist shot by Tyler during a power play at 11:18, but Legwand restored the Predators’ lead for good.
”We kind of expected they were going to come out in the third like that,” Hutton said. ”They brought it and they got a couple of goals there. On the third one, I kind of fell back and extended to make the save.
”I didn’t want to end upon my butt, but I did, and Richards put it in. The other one, I think the puck went in off (teammate Kevin) Klein’s stick.”
Legwand converted a rebound of Mattias Ekholm’s long slap shot after he won a faceoff deep from Mike Richards deep in the Kings’ zone – only the second faceoff Legwand won the entire game.
”I think it says a lot about us, especially the way it worked out after blowing a two-goal lead,” Hutton said. ”They had all the momentum, and the crowd was behind them, but we kept to our game. Getting one late was huge for us, making it 4-3 and holding on for the win.”
Los Angeles outshot Nashville 14-6 in the first, but trailed 2-1 after the Predators connected on their two power plays of the period.
Rich Clune, claimed off waivers from the Kings last January, received a misconduct for instigating a fight with Daniel Carcillo at 7:28 of the period after Carcillo’s hard open-ice hit against defenseman Roman Josi. It was Josi’s second game back after missing 10 with a concussion.
Carcillo received an additional penalty for kneeing, so the teams continued skating 5-on-5 until about 3 minutes later when Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was sent off for tripping Nystrom. The Predators capitalized on the ensuing power play as Legwand sent a wrist shot from the slot past the screened Quick.
Los Angeles forward Kyle Clifford got a boarding penalty after his check on Craig Smith, and Weber connected with 53 seconds left in the first.
The Kings closed within 2-1 just 16 seconds later when Kopitar put in a rebound of Jake Muzzin’s long wrist shot.
Nashville restored its two-goal lead 8:41 into the second period.
NOTES: Los Angeles C Jarret Stoll, who won all five faceoffs he took in the first period, played only a minute in the second period before leaving with an undisclosed injury. … Los Angeles C Tyler Toffoli and RW Linden Vey were called up from Manchester (AHL). D Keaton Ellerby was claimed off waivers by Winnipeg. … Nashville C Matt Hendricks missed the game because of an upper-body injury sustained in a collision with Phoenix’s Derek Morris on Thursday. … Los Angeles and Nashville began the day as the top two NHL teams in faceoff percentage, with the Kings winning 55.9 percent and the Predators winning 55.7 percent. The Kings held a 35-30 edge in faceoffs. … The Kings broke a franchise record with their 76th consecutive sellout — including postseason. The old mark occurred during the early 1990s.