NASHVILLE – A single victory ended two losing streaks for the Los Angeles Kings.
One day after being recalled from Manchester of the American Hockey League, Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves to record his first career shutout and lead the Kings to a 2-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Scott Parse scored at 7:50 of the third period to break a scoreless tie, and Sean O’Donnell scored with 2:01 remaining in the game for the Kings.
The Kings had lost their last four games overall and dropped their last seven against Nashville. They last defeated the Predators on October 23, 2007.
“This is a building we have not had any success,” Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. “We were playing well 5-on-5, but our special teams were not playing well for us. There were only three power plays in the game, so that may be a sign of what we need to do here for the next few games.”
The Predators have lost two of their last three, both losses coming in shutouts.
“This time of year, it’s tough to score,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “The last seven games, it’s been 0-0 or 1-1 for most of it and there’s not much going on in terms of offence. There aren’t many inches, so you have to grind it out.”
Jeff Halpern had the puck behind the Nashville net and skated to the left side. Halpern then spotted Parse skating unchecked through the slot and put a pass right on his stick. Parse’s one-timer beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.
“First (Brad) Richardson won the faceoff to start the play,” Parse said. “Halpern got the puck behind the net, and I yelled as loud as I could for him. The middle was open, he found me, and I put it in.”
It was Parse’s third goal in two days. He had his first career two-goal game in the Kings’ loss at Minnesota on Monday.
O’Donnell added an insurance marker at 17:59 of the third with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that tucked just underneath the crossbar on the far side.
“I don’t think our energy was where it needed to be tonight, mentally or physically,” Nashville defenceman Dan Hamhuis said. “Mentally, we didn’t have the urgency, especially at the start of the game. It has been a long month, and the schedule lightens up here in the next week to re-energize.”
The game concluded Nashville’s 17-game March schedule. The Predators ended the month with a record of 11-5-1. The 11 wins established a new franchise record.
Bernier made eight saves in the first, 15 in the second, and 11 in the third. With the game still scoreless less than five minutes into the third period, Bernier denied Nashville defenceman Shea Weber’s wrist shot from the slot with an impressive glove save.
“The one of Weber in the third period, that’s a world-class save,” O’Donnell said. “That’s a guy who is about as dangerous on the point as you want. He had the top corner, but (Bernier) made a great play. He’s poised and confident back there.”
When asked about earning his first NHL shutout, Bernier was quick to credit his teammates.
“It’s great,” he said. “The guys were in good position so their guys had to go around them. It was a big two points for our team.”
NOTES: Nashville C David Legwand played in his 700th career NHL game. … Predators RW Joel Ward returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … After going 0-for-2 with the man advantage Tuesday, Nashville is 1-for-23 on the power play over its last 10 games. … Halpern’s assist was his first point as a King. He was acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.