Kings lose to Predators after giving up two goals in first 39 seconds
Mikael Granlund and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist, Cole Smith had his first NHL goal and Juuse Saros made 31 saves for the Predators, winners of three of four. Roman Josi had three assists and Cody Glass and Alexandre Carrier each had two assists.
“I thought the guys did a great job,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “It was a good win. I thought it was a real solid game. That’s something you can you can build off of.”
Pheonix Copley has helped save the Kings’ season, but his struggles against the Dallas Stars expose the goaltending issues that are hampering the team.
Sean Durzi scored a goal and assisted on another and Adrian Kempe and Quinton Byfield also scored for the Kings, who began a six-game trip leading up to the NHL All-Star break. Anze Kopitar had two assists and Pheonix Copley and Jonathan Quick combined for 23 saves.
Trailing by a goal in the third, Nashville rallied on goals by Johansen and Duchene.
“Lots happened out there and we just stuck with it,” Johansen said. “Guys made some big plays. We found a way to get the lead and close out the game. It was a fun game, a big two points for group.”
The Predators came out charging, with Granlund scoring at 19 seconds and Duchene at 39 seconds.
“It was a big win for us,” Duchene said. “I think we just take the lessons of what made us successful tonight and take them on to the next game.”
Copley gave up the two goals in three shots and was pulled in favor of Quick, who turned 37 Saturday. In his last two games, Copley has given up six goals in 20 shots against and has been pulled in both.
In the second period, Kempe’s goal tied the score at 2-2 after nifty saucer passes by Drew Doughty and Kopitar led a rush.
The Kings took the lead on a power play with 2:56 left in the period when Byfield scored his second goal of the season. Byfield gathered a loose puck in front of the net and then turned and fired one high past Saros.
A rare feat: The Predators became the second team this season to score two goals in the opening 39 seconds. The Calgary Flames also did so Dec. 20 when Tyler Toffoli and Dillon Dube scored in the first 30 seconds of that game against the San Jose Sharks. Only 15 teams in NHL history have scored twice in the first 39 seconds.
Referee injured: Francois St. Laurent was injured during the second period and did not return. At 3:59 of the second period, a Kempe shot hit St. Laurent in the leg and he then fell awkwardly in the corner. He was helped off of the ice to the Predators dressing room. Mitch Dunning finished as the lone referee in the one referee, two linesmen system.
What’s next for the Kings: at Chicago on Sunday night.
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