Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
At one end of the Staples Center ice, the Kings suffocated the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Scoring chances were few and far between. At the other end, the Predators muzzled the Kings. Scoring chances were few and far between.
After trading first period goals, the teams skated and skated and skated some more in search of an opening and a tiebreaking goal. They never got one, and it took eight rounds of a shootout before Sergei Kostitsyn scored to give Nashville a 2-1 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 18,118.
On one hand, the Kings were pleased with their defensive effort.
On the other, they didn’t like their lack of offense.
The Kings got one point, but they believed they should have gotten two.
“Every point is important,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who scored their only goal of the game. “You can look at it two ways. You got one point, but you want to get that second point in a shootout. I think if we limit our chances-against, it’s good for us and we can build on that. I’d take that game most nights.”
Of the Kings’ lack of scoring punch, Brown said, “We had some good offensive chances, (but) probably not enough. … We have to find a way to score goals. We got one from our power play. We had chances. We’ve just got to get dirtier goals.”
After each team scored in the first period, the Kings and Predators huffed and puffed but couldn’t put their hard work in the corners and on the wings to good use. For example, neither team could get a shot on net for the first 5 minutes, 12 seconds of the third period.
The Kings went into the game looking for a third consecutive victory after starting the season with three defeats. Then they watched as Nashville’s Brandon Yip beat goaltender Jonathan Quick with a harmless-looking wrist shot from the right faceoff circle only 58 seconds into the first period.
Brown scored his first goal of the season with the Kings on a power play at 13:08 of the first, whipping the puck behind Nashville’s Pekka Rinne after defenseman Drew Doughty’s deflected shot from the perimeter ricocheted off the glass and bounced into dangerous territory.
There was no further scoring in the first period.
Or the second.
The Predators seemed incapable of generating shots on goal let alone quality scoring chances. They had four shots total after 31:35. Here’s a rundown: Shea Weber at 27 seconds, Yip’s goal came at 58 seconds, Gabriel Bourque had one at 3:41 and David Legwand had another at 2:12 of the second.
Instead of taking control, and seizing an opportunity, the Kings accomplished nothing of note during the Predators’ shooting drought. Instead of taking a lead and perhaps extending it, the Kings faced some of the same troubles the Predators faced in producing scoring chances.
The score remained 1-all after two periods, with the Kings outshooting the Predators 15-8.
“It just comes down to details, right?” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “They scored off a faceoff goal. Other than that, they had only three or four opportunities to score. We probably had 10. We’re still not getting that goal from players we need to count on to score.”
Enforcer Kyle Clifford joined skilled forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to form a intriguing line combination for the fourth consecutive game. Clifford went into the game as the Kings’ leading scorer with five points (one goal, four assists). He’s still their top scorer this morning.
Clifford, 22, said playing with Carter and Richards was “a privilege.” He went into 2012-13 with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) and 264 penalty minutes in 157 games in the NHL over two seasons. He had points in a career-high four consecutive games going into Thursday.