Despite just 14 total shots through three periods and an overtime session, the Nashville Predators managed to hold on and beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in a shootout Thursday. Neither team was efficient on offense, combining for just one 5 on 5 goal through 65 minutes of play.
It took eight rounds of a shootout before forward Sergei Kostitsyn finally netted the clinching goal, snapping a three-game losing streak for the Predators, and improving their record to 2-2-3 on the season.
The Predators wasted no time getting themselves on the board, taking a 1-0 lead 58 seconds into the game on a goal from forward Brandon Yip. The goal came following a faceoff in the Kings zone, after Los Angeles was called for icing the puck. Nashville center David Legwand didn't win the draw outright, but forward Gabriel Bourque was quick to control the puck and send it back to Yip, who rifled a shot past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Legwand and Bourque earned the assists on Yip's second goal of the season.
For the most part both teams would shut each other down from that point on. The only other goal scored came on a Kings power-play later in the first period. The two teams combined recorded only 25 shots total from the start of the second period all the way through the overtime.
The Kings are beginning to revive uninspiring memories of last year's regular season, when the team struggled to score goals consistently and finished 29th of 30 teams in total offense. It wasn't until they got themselves into the playoffs last year, that the team took itself to a new level, scoring goals at a much more frequent pace.
Head coach Darryl Sutter was not thrilled with the offensive production Thursday, saying his team needs to "score more than one goal" in order to win.
Despite the loss, there were actually a couple of positives on the night.
Team captain Dustin Brown finally picked up his first point of the season, scoring off the rebound of a Drew Doughty slap shot. Doughty's shot sailed high above the crossbar, but bounced off the glass behind the net and back in front of the crease. Brown, who had positioned himself well in front of the goaltender, spotted the puck first and flicked it past Rinne for just the second Kings power-play goal of the season. Doughty and center Mike Richards earned the assists on the only Los Angeles goal of the night. Brown also recorded five hits in the game, returning to the physical style of play that made him so successful during the Kings' championship run last spring.
Coming into the game, Doughty led the NHL in ice time, racking up an average of 29:10 per game. Yet even with all the time he's spent on the ice, his assist to Brown was the very first point of the season for the 23-year-old defenseman.
While the loss wasn't pretty, the Kings did earn at least a point for the fourth game in a row, going 2-0-2 over that stretch after starting the season with two consecutive losses.
The Kings will play next on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks at 7 PM PST. That game will be the first of a five-game road trip, and begins a stretch of eight out of nine games away from Staples Center.
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