Kings Hunted by Preds 5-2
The Kings have been consistent lately. Consistently bad that is. Despite head coach Terry Murray's shake up of the lines, the Kings continued to spiral downward in their embarrassing 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
“We're not competing, we're not doing those little things and our work ethic is low so that's going to be the result,” captain Dustin Brown said. It's hard to argue with him.
The Kings played perhaps their worst 19 minutes of hockey this season in the first period. Missed passes, giveaways and bad timing plagued the Kings as they had to rely on Jonathan Bernier saving 11 shots to keep it at a scoreless deadlock heading into the first intermission.
They seemed to get their act together in the final minute of the period getting a couple of good scoring chances and parlayed that into the second period where they took a 2-0 lead thanks to Kyle Clifford's goal on a two-on-one breakaway with Marco Sturm at 2:16 and Jarret Stoll's power-play goal at 7:57 while Predators netminder Anders Lindback's stick lying helplessly behind the net.
With that 2-0 lead it seemed that the storm had passed. So it seemed.
But thanks to some horrible Kings penalties Nashville was able to reassert themselves despite having played Wednesday night in Anaheim.
Predators center Colin Wilson decided to bring his team back almost single-handedly getting the first Predators goal on the power-play just one minute after Stoll's goal and assisting on Marek Svatos' rebound goal at 10:19 and Patrick Hornqvist's deflected power-play goal at 14:28 to take the 3-2 lead.
“He made some great plays on the power-play and the five-on-five,” Svatos stated the obvious on Wilson's night. “He's red hot right now, and every team needs a player like that.”
The Predators added two more goals in the third period thanks to Sergei Kostitsyn, which went between Bernier's wickets, and Hornqvist.
“Our team is based on guys working together as a group of five on the ice at a time,” Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said about the comeback. “There's not any quit in our team.”
The only highlight for the Kings in the second half of the second period was Wayne Simmonds' sending Francis Bouillon to the locker room after their prolonged fight on the boards in the Nashville zone at 14:42. The game was so bad Kings fans made sure to let the players and coaches know how they felt.
“It obviously isn't fun to be booed by your own fans,” Drew Doughty said. “They pay to see us play every night, so we're going to make sure that doesn't happen again.”
For the Kings there is a lot to be concerned with.
“We seem to sabotage ourselves a little bit with our play and taking some penalties,” Murray said. “We're not able to get the penalty killing going the way we had it going, and it's costing us some games.”
But that's not the only thing.
“It's a big concern that we've lost five and we've given up 23 goals against,” Murray said.
Perhaps the most ominous thing lies ahead. After a pretty comfortable January schedule at home, the Kings spend most of February on the road. Whatever they need to do, they need to get done fast.