NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Los Angeles Kings appear to have put their scoring woes behind them.
Justin Williams scored twice to lead the Kings to a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, and Trevor Lewis also scored to help Los Angeles win its third straight.
Patric Hornqvist scored twice and Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn had the other goals for Nashville, loser of two of its last three.
With the score tied 3-3 after two periods, Greene put the Kings ahead at 1:15 of the third on a slap shot from the right point. Lewis had a tap in from just off the left post at 3:00 to make it 5-3.
Hornqvist’s 20th of the season pulled the Predators within one with 5:18 to go.
“We got close,” Hornqvist said. “I thought after that, it was all about us and they backed up. In the neutral zone, they took away our speed. We can’t let five goals in a game. We need to clean up defensively.”
Williams has 15 goals on the season, and three in his last three games. He has five points in three games against Nashville this season.
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne was removed after Lewis scored. The NHL’s leader in goaltending victories gave up five goals on the 24 shots he faced and was replaced by backup Anders Lindback.
“To me, it just wasn’t Peks’ night,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We weren’t helping him a whole lot. You have to help him in the crease area. Four is usually my limit with Peks, and I thought we still had a lot of game to go with, and I thought I would give him one more.”
Erat tied the score at 2 at 9:16 of the second with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on the short side. Mike Fisher had an assist on the goal for his 400th career point.
Quick made 22 saves en route to his first-ever victory over Nashville.
“They are a good team,” Quick said. “They are tough to beat. “We scored some timely goals. This was a huge two points for us.”
Doughty put the Kings ahead with 7:39 to go in the period and Kostitsyn tied it 3-3 with 5:55 remaining.
“Our defencemen scored two goals by getting shots through, getting it past the first guy,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. “That really was the difference. Our defence was more involved offensively than they have been.”
Williams scored the game’s first goal at 6:16 of the opening period.
From just below the goal line to the right of the Nashville goal, he sent the puck toward an out-of-position Rinne and the puck bounced off the goalie’s right skate and then tricked across the line.
“We wanted to make Rinne work tonight,” Williams said. “We felt the last few games we haven’t gotten as much shots on net as we should have. We tried to put as many as we could at him.”
Hornqvist tied it with 1:19 left in the period with a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Quick high to the glove side.
Williams put Los Angeles back ahead 12 seconds later. Driving toward the Nashville net on the left side, he got just enough of Slava Voynov’s pass from above the right circle to put it over Rinne’s right pad.
It was the first time since Feb. 7 the Predators allowed more than one goal in the first period.
NOTES: Los Angeles D Rob Scuderi played in his 200th consecutive game. … Kings D Willie Mitchell had two assists Tuesday, his second multipoint game of this season. … Nashville LW Andrei Kostitsyn has three points in his last two games. … The Predators have not scored a power-play goal in their last four games.