Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/1/13
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings still aren't playing like the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Nashville Predators continue to struggle to score goals. In other words, the perfect recipe was in place Thursday night for a game short on offense and high on frustration for two teams still trying to find their way through the early part of the new season. No surprise, then, that the Kings and Predators needed overtime and a shootout at Staples Center after grinding their way through regulation, with Nashville ultimately prevailing 2-1 after outscoring the Kings 4-3 in the shootout. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne denied Simon Gagne and then Sergei Kostitsyn scored on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to give Nashville its first shootout win of the year. For the Kings, it was a bitterly frustrating loss considering they outshot the Predators 24-14 through regulation and overtime but had nothing to show for it other than Dustin Brown's first-period goal. "We had some good offensive chances, probably not enough," Brown said. "We have to find a way to score goals. We got one from our power play. We had chances. We just got to get dirtier goals." They didn't do that Thursday, and it cost them. And in an eight-round shootout, the Predators were able to get to Quick four times to pick up the two points. While it didn't reflect in the score, the Kings dominated the first three periods and overtime, with 24 shots on goal compared with 14 for Nashville. Aside from Brown's power-play goal in the first period, Los Angeles had nothing else to show for how well it pushed the issue. Two things sabotaged the Kings. First, the 24 shots were mitigated by Nashville's 24 blocks and Rinne's 23 saves. "They're so strong up the middle and they make things tough defensively," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They've got their veterans in the back and they have a good goalie. They don't give you much. You have to bear down when you get chances to score against them, and we didn't do that." Second, the Kings managed to cash in just once on six power plays against a stingy Nashville team intent on grinding the pace to a halt. "There were just a lot of whistles and a lot of faceoffs and icing calls," said Kings center Jarret Stoll. "There just wasn't much going on out there." Not that the Predators could take advantage, failing on three power plays and going 18 minutes at one point with just one shot on goal. This despite a blazing start in which Nashville needed just 15 seconds to get to Quick, when Brandon Nip scored on assists by Gabriel Bourque and David Legwand. But when it got to a shootout, the Predators prevailed. On a night with little offense and plenty of frustration, that proved to be enough. Meanwhile, with the Kings embarking on their longest road trip of the year, it wasn't the way they wanted to head out of town. "We need to get these points at home, especially with so many road games coming up," defenseman Alec Martinez said. "It's good to get the one point, but we definitely wanted more." Sutter agreed. "It comes down to details," Sutter said. "They score 15 seconds after the opening faceoff and maybe get three opportunities after that. We probably had 10 opportunities, but we're just not getting the big goal from the players we need to count on to get that goal." NOTES: It has been a rough start to the season for Nashville captain Shea Weber, who has yet to record a point through six games. Weber totaled 49 points last year, including 19 goals. Weber is arguably the top defenseman in the NHL and was the runner-up for the Norris Trophy the last two years. Nashville locked him up last summer with a 14-year contract. ... Thursday was the first of three meetings between the Predators and Kings. L.A. took three of the four matchups last season. ... Nashville had won just once in four games to begin a franchise-record seven-game road trip spanning 15 days. The Predators were shut out in two of their last three games. ... Coming in, Kings forward Jeff Carter had scored in three straight games. ... Quick has stopped 117 of 126 shots in the last four games. ... The Kings next have a five-game road trip and won't be back in Los Angeles until Feb. 15. They play eight of their next nine games away from Staples Center.
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