LOS ANGELES – The Nashville Predators felt pretty good about themselves after salvaging a .500 road trip with a three-game sweep of the California teams.
J.P. Dumont scored the go-ahead goal during a power play with 2:28 left and set up Jason Arnott’s goal, leading the Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Shea Weber added an empty-net goal in the final minute for the Predators, coming off consecutive overtime wins at San Jose and Anaheim.
“To be honest, I think that’s the first time we won all three games in California,” said Barry Trotz, the only coach the 11-year-old team has ever had.
“Our overall record in these buildings isn’t very good, and we found out a lot about ourselves. Tonight we got some good goaltending real early and we battled through it. They got a lot of structure and they don’t give you a lot and so we battled through that.”
Dan Ellis made 33 saves for Nashville. The only puck that got past him was Michal Handzus’ fourth goal of the season, on a deflection of Kyle Quincey’s slap shot from the left point at 15:06 of the second period.
“We had a lot of good looks in the game, especially in the second period,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “We had 27 shots after two periods and probably had a dozen great scoring chances. We just couldn’t find the way to get the job done. But give Ellis a lot of credit. He was the difference in the game and he’s the reason why they won tonight.”
Nashville’s opponents have totalled 124 shots on net in the last three games, and Ellis has stopped all but eight of them.
“We played a pretty good game, but we just couldn’t get the puck in the net,” Kings goalie Erik Ersberg said. “Ellis played great. We face good goaltenders every night, so you’ve just got to find ways to beat the other goalie.”
Kings defenceman Drew Doughty, the second overall pick in the draft, received a hooking penalty after pulling down Martin Erat from behind while David Legwand tried to set him up in the low slot with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
Dumont capitalized with his fourth goal of the season during a goalmouth scramble after Ersberg stopped Ville Koistinen’s wrist shot from above the right circle.
“We were the better team out there, without a doubt,” said Doughty, who played more than 20 minutes for the 13th time in 16 games.
“Overall, I think that we did all the things we want to do right. We were getting pucks in deep, moving the puck early and getting shots on net. I thought we played hard and we battled. We definitely deserved better. I think that was our game to win, and then they got that power-play goal at the end.”
Ersberg made his sixth straight start, a stretch that began with a 1-0 overtime loss to Anaheim. He made 19 saves after winning the previous four games, including a home-and-home sweep of the Dallas Stars.
The Predators had only nine shots on net until Arnott opened the scoring at 10:26 of the second period with his eighth goal. He got a centring pass across the crease from Dumont and redirected it through Ersberg’s legs. Erat, who missed the previous three games because of an upper body injury, also was credited with an assist.
“We talked about getting back to the basics and getting back to the way we play. And that’s just work ethic,” Arnott said. “We were chipping away, and tonight we found a way to win. That’s’ what we got to do every single night so we can come away with points.”
Notes: The Kings announced that ticket holders who couldn’t get to Saturday’s game because of the series of wildfires that shut down several freeways, would be able to exchange their tickets for one of three other games in the same price range – Dec. 6 (Columbus), Dec. 13 (Minnesota) or Dec. 29 (Columbus). … Los Angeles C Brian Boyle lost all eight of his faceoffs. … The Kings, who outshot Nashville 34-22, have held opponents to fewer than 30 shots on net in eight straight games.