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Kings rookie Kopitar scores twice in 4-1 victory over Predators

The Kings, with the worst record in the Western Conference, beat the Nashville Predators, the best team in the division, by a 4-1 score Saturday night.

The Kings, who own the NHL's worst road record (8-18-2), are 2-0-3 in their last five games.

Anze Kopitar scored twice and Brian Willsie and Michael Cammalleri added goals for the Kings. Sean Burke made 21 saves.

"It was a classic total team effort for us," Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. "We knew we had to keep our composure.

"That's always the way you have to play against teams that have as much talent as the Predators have."

Dan Hamhuis scored for Nashville, which had a franchise-record, eight-game, home-winning streak snapped.

"It's no secret that Los Angeles has been playing well," coach Barry Trotz said. "Sean Burke is playing really strong lately for them.

"They have a real solid defence that has been a staple all year. They just hadn't been in sync as a team, but lately they have been."

Kopitar gave the Kings a 1-0 lead 29 seconds into the middle period. His shot from low inside the right circle bounced off the glove of goalie Tomas Vokoun and came to Lubomir Visnovsky, who fired the rebound back from the left side. That shot caromed off Vokoun to Kopitar, who put the puck in off Vokoun who fell backward in the crease.

Kopitar said the Kings were motivated by their last visit to Nashville, a 7-0 loss on Dec. 23.

"We knew we had to come out strong, and we did," Kopitar said. "Our last game here we got beat pretty bad.

"We paid attention to details. We executed and that brought the success in this game."

Willsie struck less than a minute later, poking the puck between the right post and Vokoun from low in the left circle at 1:03.

Kopitar made it 3-0 at 11:55 of the second when he skated with the puck behind the net from the left side and fired a wrist shot past Vokoun from low on the right side.

Cammalleri pushed the lead to four goals in the third period, blasting a shot from high in the slot on a 5-on-3 power play that beat Vokoun to his stick side at 6:29.

The Predators avoided the shutout at 10:14 when Hamhuis scored.

"I really believe that when we were down 2-0, and even 3-0, if we had been able to come back then and got a goal, the Kings would have tightened up a little bit," Nashville centre Scott Nichol said. "They have struggled a lot this year and have a lot of new guys.

"But give them credit. They stuck to their system with one forechecker and four guys back. It is tough to score in there when they are sitting back like that."

Notes: Nashville's Kimmo Timonen skated in his 550th NHL game. Cammalleri has an eight-game point streak . . . Kopitar has points in four straight games.


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