What we learned from the Kings' 2-1 loss to the Predators

What we learned from the Kings' 2-1 loss to the Predators
Predators center Calle Jarnkrok, left, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin and goalie Jonathan Quick watch a puck deflect off Muzzin's stick and into the net to give Nashville a 2-1 lead Saturday night. (Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

A few more takeaways from a game in which the Kings lost a third-period lead and fell out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, slipping out of the wild-card position.

Beware the Predators


Funny how it all works. The Kings seem to have the number of, say, the Vancouver Canucks. But the matchup against Nashville just doesn’t seem to work in the Kings’ favor this season.

They've lost all three games to the Predators. This was their first loss in regulation to Nashville, the other two coming in overtime and in a shootout.

None other than hockey legend Wayne Gretzky suggested in an interview with NHL Network last week that Nashville could give the Kings some trouble if they met in the playoffs.

The Great One may be on to something.

Jake Muzzin's season of woe continues

The enduring picture of the Kings defenseman Muzzin is one of frustration this season, hanging his head in dismay after another miscue.

It was on full display again at Staples Center. Muzzin’s own goal - a deflection off his stick – made it 2-1 for Nashville. The flub came 66 seconds after the forward Craig Smith tied it for the Predators on the power play and the Kings simply couldn’t recover.

Call it the post-contract blues for Muzzin. Obviously, it hasn't happened in every case, but Kings' management has gotten used to a player signing a big new deal and then struggling that next season.

Tough decision(s) regarding the lineup looming

Center Jarret Stoll missed the Nashville game because of an upper-body injury that occurred against Vancouver. It is unclear if Stoll will be missing from the lineup for a significant period of time.

If so, would that mean a recall of center Mike Richards? Richards cleared waivers after the All-Star break and has been in the minors since then. Kings GM Dean Lombardi said, “Not yet,” when asked if Richards would be called up.

When the Kings were on their recent trip, Richards was working out in El Segundo, establishing a baseline during testing. Kings assistant GM Rob Blake said on Saturday, via email, that Richards would be around for another week of training.

The other decision will come on the back end as defenseman Alec Martinez gets closer to returning. He has been out more than a month because of a concussion suffered on Feb. 7 at Tampa Bay. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter will have to assess who will be the odd man out once Martinez is ready.

Twitter: @reallisa