Matt Duchene capped a two-goal performance by snapping a tie with 6:26 remaining in the third period, lifting the host Nashville Predators to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Nashville’s Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund each recorded a goal and an assist and Cole Smith added his first career NHL goal. Captain Roman Josi notched three assists and Juuse Saros made 31 saves for the Predators, who avenged a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles on Oct. 18.
Los Angeles defenseman Sean Durzi collected a goal and an assist and Adrian Kempe and Quinton Byfield also tallied. Captain Anze Kopitar notched two assists for the Kings, who have lost three in a row after winning 10 of their previous 13 games.
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in relief of Pheonix Copley, who yielded two goals on three shots early in the first period.
Johansen tipped home a shot in front to forge a 3-3 tie at 8:44 of the third period before Duchene regained the lead for Nashville just under five minutes later. Duchene skated up the right wing before accepting defenseman Alexandre Carrier’s slick feed and wristing a shot past Quick for his 13th goal of the season.
Smith provided insurance just over 2 1/2 minutes later with his first goal of the season.
Nashville bolted out of the blocks in a hurry, scoring twice in the game’s first 39 seconds to take a 2-0 lead.
Carrier’s shot from the point was deflected home by Granlund just 19 seconds into the game, and Duchene doubled the advantage by backhanding a shot from the slot 20 seconds later.
Durzi took advantage of an offensive-zone turnover to halve the deficit at 9:26 of the first period.
Kempe settled a saucer pass from Kopitar before scoring his team-leading 19th goal of the season to forge a tie at 2-2 at 6:14 of the second period.
Byfield settled a loose puck in front and wired a shot from the slot past Saros to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead with 2:56 remaining in the second period. Byfield’s goal was his second of the season — with both coming over his last four games.
–Field Level Media