NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Los Angeles Kings had a game plan and executed it perfectly.
Ryan Smyth scored twice and Los Angeles broke loose for four goals in the first period of a 6-1 rout against Nashville on Saturday night, ending the Predators’ season-high five-game winning streak.
Justin Williams, Trevor Lewis and Drew Doughty all scored for the Kings before the game was 10 minutes old, quickly ending the night for Nashville’s starting goalie, Anders Lindback.
The Predators played in New Jersey on Friday night, and the Kings wanted to try to take advantage of a team on the second game of a back-to-back set.
“We all knew that they played last night and had to fly back,” Doughty said. “We knew that their legs weren’t going to be there in the first, and we jumped all over them.”
Alexei Ponikarovsky had the other goal for Los Angeles, which has won five of seven. Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves, improving to 3-0-0 against the Predators in his career.
“We got some balanced scoring here tonight,” Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. “Everybody started the right way and did the right things throughout.”
Steve Sullivan scored for Nashville.
Making his eighth consecutive start in place of injured Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, Lindback was lifted at 9:59 of the first in favour of fellow rookie Mark Dekanich, who made his NHL debut. Lindback allowed three goals on nine Los Angeles shots.
“Of course I am disappointed, but that’s what you always have to try to do, leave this behind, look over what you could have done better,” Lindback said. “I’m just kind of excited for the next game and will try to bounce back.”
Williams got the Kings on the board quickly, scoring 15 seconds after the opening faceoff.
“You come off a big win last night on the road, and they score on the first shift,” Nashville defenceman Ryan Suter said. “You have to get the momentum back, and we were not able to do that.”
Both of Smyth’s goals were scored from just outside the crease.
At 15:32 of the first, Smyth scored a power-play goal from just to Dekanich’s right. With less than four minutes remaining in the second, Jarret Stoll’s shot bounced off the glass behind the Nashville net, and Smyth knocked the puck in with a baseball swing of his stick.
“We wanted to come out with a little conviction tonight, and I thought that we did that right from the outset,” Smyth said. “What we wanted to do is execute right from the get-go, and we did that.”
Nashville was 8-0-2 in its previous 10 games, which tied a franchise record for points in consecutive games.
“They came out hard and jumped early,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “They won a few more battles early and took control of the game.”
Notes: Nashville LW Sergei Kostitsyn had his career-high points streak snapped at eight games. … With a goal and an assist, Doughty has six points in his last three games. … Brown has a seven-game points streak. … After losing seven straight to Nashville, the Kings have defeated the Predators three consecutive times.