NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Predators coach Barry Trotz wasn’t happy with the Nashville’s careless defensive play against Los Angeles.
Ryan Jones. J.P. Dumont, Martin Erat, Jerred Smithson and Jordin Tootoo scored to lead the Predators to a 5-4 victory over the Kings on Saturday night in a game that Trotz thought shouldn’t have been that close. “It should have ended 5-2 and our guys all realize that,” Trotz said. “We found a way to stop the tide, but it was closer than we wanted it to be.
“The last two goals by Los Angeles were the result of sloppy coverages. We knew they were stretching their forwards. Instead of protecting the puck, we threw it up the middle and Los Angeles kept it in. And we were beat back to the net on the last goal.”
Jarret Stoll scored twice for Los Angeles, and Dustin Brown and Alexander Frolov added goals.
The Predators scored three goals in the first period.
“They came out hard with a lot of speed and intensity,” Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. “They knew we had played Friday night. Their game plan clearly was to test us in the first period.”
Jones scored the first goal of the game on a power play at the 9:32 mark, skating in from the left side and shooting a rebound into the right side of the net against goalie Jason LaBarbera.
Dumont gave the Predators a 2-0 edge at 10:33 when he fired a one-timer from high in the right circle that beat LaBarbera to his left side.
Erat scored a power-play goal at 12:48, redirecting a shot from inside the blue line by Ryan Suter, beating LaBarbera to his right side.
After Erat’s goal, Los Angeles called timeout and replaced LaBarbera with Erik Ersberg, making his second appearance of the season.
“It was a little bit of a way of calming things down,” Murray said. “We were trying to get a better focus to our game. You can look at it different ways. I would have liked to have seen their third goal stopped. When you give up three goals in the first it throws up a red flag.”
The Kings scored their first goal of the game at 10:52 of the second period. Stoll skated through the slot and drew goalie Dan Ellis out in front of the crease. Ellis blocked Stoll’s shot, but could not control the rebound. Stoll recovered the puck and fired it into an open net.
Stoll struck again on the power play at 14:29 with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that went over Ellis’ left shoulder.
In the third period, Smithson gave the Predators a 4-2 lead. Smithson beat Ersberg high to the right corner of the goal at 10:54.
“It’s always nice to contribute offensively,” Smithson said. “I don’t do it too often, so it feels pretty good. We still have a lot of things to improve on. Our play in the second period was bad.”
At 12:43, Scott Nichol passed the puck to Tootoo, who skated in front of the net and backhanded a shot from close range.
Brown scored the third goal and Frolov cut the lead to one at 18:52.
“There are a number of players who can do a better job,” Trotz said. “We are making turnovers. On a routine breakout there was an errant pass and they turned that into a goal. It was a routine play with no pressure. We are having problems on the walls. And they are veteran players making mistakes. That is what concerns me.”
Notes: The Predators have scored 11 first-period goals this season. … Until the goal by Jones, the Kings’ penalty kill unit had been a perfect 27-for-27. … Stoll also scored Friday night against St. Louis, giving him goals in back-to-back games. He has two multi-point games this season. … Dumont has points in seven of eight games, including the last four in a row. … Patrick O’Sullivan had a pair of assists for Los Angeles, his first multi-point game of the season.