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Kings Ice Predators in Smyth's Millennial Achievement

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There were a couple of issues for the Kings coming into their game against the Nashville Predators. Being a young team, would they respond after an emotional win Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning? Also, would the Kings defend their home ice against the Predators despite losing their last five games against Predators at STAPLES Center dating back to Jan. 8, 2008?

The answer to those questions was a resounding yes as they destroyed the Preds 4-1.

“Overall it’s a very big two points for us against a conference team we’ve had a lot of problems with over the last couple of years,” Kings’ Head Coach Terry Murray said noting their home losing streak.

With Jonathan Bernier starting in goal for the Kings, the defense fattened up to help him pitch a shutout until the waning minutes of the game. Still having troubles killing the puck allowing fat rebounds for the attackers to feast on, the defense blocked 21 shots in front of Bernier.

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“It was great,” Bernier said about the defense. “I can’t complain about that. All the shots were from the outside. They had a few scoring chances on the power-play, but most of it was outstanding.”

Offensively Anze Kopitar got the scoring going 4:11 in the first period with a wicked wrist shot that went top shelf past Predators’ goalie Pekka Rinne. Dustin Brown added a goal at 13:00 from the right faceoff circle the Rinne deflected into the net for the Kings’ 2-0 lead after the first period.

Then Mr. 1,000 came through to extend the lead in the second period. Ryan Smyth, who was feted by his teammates during morning skate and warm-ups with a mullet wig from his early days in the league, made a nice move on Rinne for the 3-0 lead.

“It was great,” Smyth said of his night. “It started off with a nice gesture with the boys bringing out their bullets, and it dated me a little bit but it was awesome.”

Jarret Stoll scored the goal that knocked Rinne out of the net midway in the second period and gave him 12 points in his last 11 games (five goals, seven assists.) Rookie Anders Lindback took over at goal for the remaining 30 minutes saving all nine shots.

Shane O’Brien ruined Bernier’s shutout 17:36 in the third period, but he couldn’t ruin the Kings’ perfect 6-0 record at home, best record in the NHL at 10-3-0 and most points in the NHL with 20.

Bernier had 25 saves in the win while Rinne took the loss for the Preds with 18 saves.

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