NASHVILLE – The surging Los Angeles Kings still haven’t found a way to beat the Nashville Predators.
J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, Marcel Goc and Jerred Smithson scored, and Pekka Rinne made 20 saves in the Predators’ 4-2 victory over the Kings on Thursday night. The victory was Nashville’s sixth in a row over Los Angeles, which has won 11 of its last 14 games. Martin Erat had two assists for the Predators.
Alexander Frolov and Drew Doughty scored for Los Angeles.
“L.A. was 11-1-1, and they had been the hottest team in the National Hockey League,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “They play a very structured game, and they are very well coached.”
Frolov opened the scoring 54 seconds into the game.
Jarret Stoll won a faceoff against Nashville’s Goc. Frolov picked up the puck, split a pair of Predators and beat Rinne with a backhander to the stick side.
Dumont tied it for Nashville at 4:32 of the first.
Steve Sullivan shot the puck into the Los Angeles zone on the left side. As the puck rimmed around the boards, Quick left his crease to play the puck behind the goal. The puck caromed off Quick’s stick and landed right in front of the vacated net, where Dumont had an easy tap-in for his 12th goal of the season.
“It was just a tough bounce,” Quick said.
Kings coach Terry Murray said that goal was the difference.
“From that point, we did not regain our composure to play the game the proper way,” he said. “It just became easy for them.”
Arnott struck at 13:09 of the second. From behind the Nashville goal, Erat slid a pass through the crease to Arnott on the left side and his one-timer beat Quick on the short side.
“It was huge,” Arnott said. “We had a lot of power-play opportunities, and we were moving the pick around really well.”
“We made a little mistake there, and they capitalized,” Doughty said. “It was a great shot by Arnott off of a great pass from Erat.”
Goc gave Nashville a 3-1 lead at 2:30. In the left corner of the Los Angeles zone, Erat found Goc in the low slot with a blind backhand pass. Goc’s wrist shot beat Quick on the stick side.
Doughty pulled the Kings within one at 6:40 of the third on a power play.
With Los Angeles on a 4-on-3 advantage, Anze Kopitar’s pass from the right side deflected off of Ryan Smyth in front of the goal and found Doughty all alone on the left side. Smyth’s assist was his 700th career NHL point.
Smithson’s empty-net goal capped the scoring.
“I’ll be honest, I was not trying to put that puck in the net,” Smithson said. “I wanted to just chip it out to the far blue line, and I got a little too much of it.”
NOTES: Nashville C Dustin Boyd, acquired in a trade from Calgary on Wednesday, will join the team Friday in Detroit … Erat has 11 points in his last six games against Los Angeles.