Kings score 3 late goals to tie game, but Predators win in OT
The Nashville Predators wasted a late three-goal lead. Roman Josi quickly made certain that defensive lapse didn’t spoil the day.
Josi scored 18 seconds into overtime after Pekka Rinne gave up three goals in the final 2:01 of regulation, and the Predators eked out a wild 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
"It was definitely not the ending we planned," Josi said. "We were up 6-3 with a couple of minutes to go. You want to win that game in regulation. It was a good job by our team staying with it, but we have to do a better job at the end."
Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson scored goals 1:22 apart in the first period, Mattias Ekholm and Mark Acrobello scored 1:41 apart in the second, and the Predators also got goals from Ryan Ellis and Olli Jokinen in opening a 5-1 lead. Rinne finished with 24 saves.
"If it ends 6-3, you like everything about the game," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "You don’t like the fact that they scored three goals to tie it up and bring it into overtime for us to win it. But at the end of the day, it’s two points, and there was an answer to the three goals they scored."
The Predators overtook the idle Chicago Blackhawks for the Central Division lead, scoring on three of their first nine shots against Jonathan Quick and chasing him to the bench after Ellis’ power play goal gave Nashville a 3-1 lead at 9:43 of the opening period.
Dwight King, Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter each came through during the Kings’ late burst. King scored on a 15-foot wrist shot. Martinez connected on a 55-foot slapshot with 1:04 remaining, and Carter completed the comeback on a 15-foot slap shot with 34 seconds left in the third period.
"I was really disappointed," Rinne said. "When you have a 6-3 lead, you expect to win. It was a crazy game. I couldn’t believe what happened at the end there, but Roman took care of business."
Josi got a cross-ice pass from rookie Filip Forsberg as he was cruising down the slot and beat Martin Jones to the stick side with a 25-foot wrist shot — the first shot of overtime.
"The bottom line is, you can’t spot a team six goals and expect to win a hockey game," Martinez said. "But you don’t just stop playing."
The Kings began a seven-game homestand after pulling out a 3-2 win at Vancouver on Thursday night with two goals in the final 2:07. King and Martinez each scored twice and Matt Greene got the other goal.
Greene beat Rinne with a screened 60-foot wrist shot just 32 seconds into the game after Mike Richards won a faceoff from Paul Gaustad deep in the Nashville zone.
The Predators, though, scored the next five goals.
"Nobody came in prepared to play a good team," King said. "They’re a top team in our conference for a reason. It took us a while to get into the game — and when you’re doing that against top teams, it’s tough to find a way to win. People weren’t ready for the hard part of the game, to compete."
Fisher tied it at 4:54 of the first, jumping on a loose puck in the crease after Josi’s wrist shot from the left point hit traffic in front. Wilson was awarded his 11th goal at the 6:16 mark when his intended centering pass for Fisher from behind the net deflected in off Greene’s stick.
Ellis, on his 24th birthday, got his fourth of the season, a power-play goal on a one-timer from the left point. It was the Predators’ eighth power play goal in their last 10 games, following an eight-game stretch in which they were 0 for 27.
Jones, seeing his first action in net since Dec. 12, gave up Ekholm’s goal on a wrist shot from the right point that changed direction off the stick of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Arcobello, making his Predators debut after he was acquired in a trade with Edmonton for Derek Roy on Monday, made it 5-1 with a wrist shot from the left circle at 3:57 of the second.
NOTES: Nashville has won 25 of its first 37 games under Laviolette. He didn’t reach that total until his 50th game with the Islanders (2001-02), his 73rd game with the Hurricanes (2003-04) and his 49th game with the Flyers (2009-10). … The Kings have been short-handed no more than three times in any of their last 12 games, but have allowed 10 power play goals during that stretch. … Fourteen of the Kings’ 21 losses have been by one goal.