FINAL – Kings 1, Predators 2 (SO) – Roy, Kempe, McLellan

The LA Kings extended their point streak to six games, but saw their winning streak come to a close, with a 2-1 shootout defeat against the Nashville Predators on Saturday evening at Arena.

Defenseman Mikey Anderson scored his team’s only goal on the evening, while goaltender Pheonix Copley made 29 saves on 30 shots against over the course of 65 minutes.

The Kings opened the scoring just shy of the halfway mark in the first period, as Anderson scored for the second time in his last three games. Forward Gabe Vilardi found Anderson in space, as he crashed in from the left point, and the defenseman picked his corner and finished with a top-shelf shot for his fourth goal of the season and an early 1-0 advantage.

Nashville equalized in the latter stages of the period, however, tying the game heading into the first intermission. Skating on their first power play of the night, the puck came to forward Tommy Novak at the center point, where he sent a shot through traffic and in for his tenth goal of the season, tying the game at one in the process.

Neither team was able to convert in either the second, third or overtime periods, before the game progressed to a shootout. Vilardi and forwards Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson were each denied by Nashville netminder Kevin Lankinen, while Predators forward Matt Duchene scored the lone goal from the skills competition to earn the visitors the second point.

Hear from defenseman Matt Roy, Kempe and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.

Matt Roy

Adrian Kempe
On what it says about the group earning a point on a night that wasn’t their cleanest
I think we had the chances to win the game, I think we played okay enough to win the game, it just didn’t bounce our way, I felt like, at all tonight. It was difficult out there tonight. Nothing with the structure or anything, it just didn’t bounce our way and didn’t feel good out there in general. Just difficult, a little frustrating.

On the difficulty in playing a game tonight
They’re a tough team to play against, but I think we had the puck a lot, had it in their zone and got a lot to the net, but we didn’t bear down on our chances. It was just a little bit frustrating out there tonight and on special teams, it was bouncing weirdly out there, just not really going our way. We got one point, I think it’s a positive thing we can take from here and move forward.

On what adjustments the group tries to make when conditions are less than stellar
Just playing simple. Maybe it wasn’t going our way, with the power play, 5-on-5, but in the second period, I. thought we played alright. Our mentality going into the third was just to keep doing what we’re doing, stay patient and hopefully go out and win a game. Unfortunately just the one point tonight, but it’s something we can build on, a good test for us.

Todd McLellan
On two teams with similar styles of play and if he got the game he expected
I think the two teams tonight play a very similar type of game, where you just snuff a lot of plays out. I’m not sure it’s going to be like that all the way through the playoffs, I think the tight-checking and the tenacity will be there, but I think it’ll be a sharper game from both teams home and away than what we saw tonight. A couple of things, you’ve got to give them credit, they checked really hard, I thought we checked really hard. It probably wasn’t an overly entertaining game, there weren’t a lot of plays being made or connected passes, whistles just in the mud if you will, is probably the best way to describe it.

On if the team needs to simplify the game on a night when ice conditions were subpar
Yeah, you do, but it’s, I guess when it comes to the ice, all 20 players have to participate on the same sheet of ice, so it didn’t favor one team or the other, but these guys are pretty talented people, on both teams. You carry around a frustration because you can’t connect one pass to the other, because the surface you’re playing on is as bad as it was tonight. It was bad for both teams.

On the power play tonight and where he sees that unit
It’s not necessarily a lack of personnel, you lose people and you should be able to keep it going. Our power play fell off a little bit about five or six games ago when Kevin and Durz were still in the lineup. So, it is a lack of execution, it’s a little bit slow right now, a little more predictable. Perhaps looking for something that’s pretty or perfect versus slugging it out, especially again tonight in these conditions. At the end of the night, we lost a special teams battle – penalty kill, power play and the shootout – so we’re fortunate to get a point.

On Pheonix Copley tonight and how he’s responded to the rotation with Joonas Korpisalo
I think he has done an excellent job with alternating back and forth, I think both of them have done that. You look at the goals against that we’ve given up – 2, 2, 2, 2 and 1 tonight. You consider the role the goaltenders play in that, they’ve both been excellent. I thought again tonight that Phoenix was really good.

On the play of the fourth line tonight with the ingredients that were assembled
I thought they played fairly direct. They understood what they were playing on and they played with some pace. They had some really good offensive-zone shifts and then they came back and frustrated the other team by catching them from behind and killing plays. They did their job tonight.

On getting another goal from Mikey Anderson and his offensive improvements
I think his shot has improved a lot. He’s worked hard on it and it’s more accurate, he’s got a little more velocity on it and he’s more confident using it, we saw that tonight. More than once tonight he tried to wire a few in there and you have to give him credit for working on something that he needed to. It’s showing up in his game.

Notes –
– Mikey Anderson scored his fourth goal of the season for his second tally in his last three games (Goal on Mar. 6 vs. WSH).
– Gabriel Vilardi and Alex Iafallo both collected assists on Anderson’s goal. Vilardi’s assist marked his sixth point (4-2-6) in his last six games.
– The Kings extend their home point streak to seven games (6-0-1).
– Defenseman Drew Doughty led the Kings with 28:47 in time on ice, while Phillip Danault led the forwards with 22:21.
– Danault and forward Viktor Arvidsson led the Kings with four shots on goal apiece, while Arvidsson had a game-high 10 shot attempts.

The Kings have a scheduled team off day tomorrow. The team will return to the ice on Monday for practice at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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