Jarome Iginla scored twice, including the winner in overtime, and the Nashville Predators fell 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center. The result gives the Preds a point for the second consecutive game, but Nashville has now fallen to 0-2-2 in their last four outings.
Pekka Rinne was outstanding once more in net for Nashville, making 31 saves, but a third-period lead was lost once again, a point of frustration for the group.
“We can play better, and we have to find a way to win,” Preds Captain Mike Fisher said. “We had the lead in the third and make a mistake in overtime. Pekka played unbelievable for us, but we had our chances too, and we have to find a way.”
The Preds opened the scoring when James Neal crunched a Kings defender in the corner before Roman Josi intercepted L.A.’s exit pass. The puck then bounced off Neal’s stick before settling for a wide-open Calle Jarnkrok, who one-timed a shot into the cage for a 1-0 advantage that upped his point streak to three games.
Iginla tucked in his first goal with the Kings around Rinne’s pad with a few seconds remaining on Los Angeles’ initial power-play chance in the second period. The point was Iginla’s 68th in 68 career games against Nashville, no other opposing player has registered more points against the Preds.
After returning to the lineup against the Kings, Kevin Fiala made his mark when he gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at the 1:31 mark of the third period, slamming in a loose puck past Jonathan Quick. But L.A. got another with the man advantage midway through the frame, courtesy of Marian Gaborik.
The rest of regulation remained scoreless before heading to overtime, and shortly after the Preds took a penalty for too many men on the ice, Iginla tallied his second (and 69th all-time point versus Nashville) to give L.A. the win. The Kings used three power-play goals on three opportunities to claim the victory and moved to within five points of the Preds in the standings.
“We had too many men. Bad change,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said frankly of the penalty in overtime. “Our guys played hard today. First period we were under a little bit of siege, second and third period we were real good, but it gets to the 4-on-3 in overtime and ends the game.”
“We’re giving points away right now,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “The last couple of games, just bad decisions on our part, just giving points away.”
Ryan Ellis joined the team for warm-ups, but exited early after reaggravating a lower-body injury. He was then scratched for the game as a result.
Anthony Bitetto, Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons all re-entered the Nashville lineup on Thursday against the Kings, while Vernon Fiddler, Brad Hunt, P.A. Parenteau and Harry Zolnierczyk were scratched.
The Preds will finish their California swing on Saturday afternoon in San Jose against the Sharks at 3 p.m. CT.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report