The team that couldn’t beat the NHL’s worst clubs Thursday night turned around and beat one of the league’s best on Saturday night.
Austin Watson scored two goals as the Nashville Predators salvaged a 1-1-1 record from their western road trip by edging the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Watson, who entered the game with just three goals, gave Nashville (24-11-6) a 3-1 lead at 16:49 of the second period. P.K. Subban’s pretty diagonal pass found Watson’s stick in the right circle, and the left winger roofed a wrister over goalie Jonathan Quick.
Trevor Lewis pulled the Kings (24-13-5) within 3-2 at 3:56 of the third period. After the Predators were unable to clear the zone on two occasions, Lewis converted a wrist shot.
Watson’s second marker occurred 69 seconds later. He whiffed on a centering pass from Calle Jarnkrok, but the puck skittered out to Ryan Ellis. The defenseman’s one-timer from just outside the right circle was deflected by Watson.
Los Angeles responded with Tyler Toffoli’s power-play tally at 8:24, his 18th goal of the season, but Nashville was able to protect its one-goal edge for the game’s remainder.
The result stood in contrast to Nashville’s 3-2 loss Thursday night at Arizona. The Coyotes tied it late in the third period with a power-play goal and then won in overtime.
Predators captain Roman Josi initiated the scoring Saturday with the man advantage at 15:08 of the first period. With Drew Doughty serving a double minor for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct, Kyle Turris teed up Josi, who boomed a slapper from the left point past Quick for his eighth goal.
The Kings equalized at 6:43 of the second period when Adrian Kempe took advantage of a bad play by Subban. Kempe took the puck away after Subban whiffed on a pass and deked from backhand to forehand, beating goalie Pekka Rinne with a wrister for his 13th goal.
Scott Hartnell restored the lead for Nashville at 11:53 of the middle period with his sixth goal. Two Los Angeles defenders shadowed Ryan Johansen to the left corner. No one picked up Hartnell as he drove to the net, and he was able to chip the puck over Quick’s right shoulder.
Rinne (20-8-3) made 26 saves, while Quick (19-13-2) stopped 16 of 20 shots.
—Field Level Media