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Rinne stops 29, Quick 34 in goaltending grudge match

Preds v LA

The Nashville Predators used to shutter when they saw the Los Angeles Kings on the schedule. Not only did the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and then brought back the same roster after the lockout but back-up goaltender Jonathan Bernier always seemed to have their number. When he donned the black and silver, Bernier was 7-1-0 all-time against the Predators, including three shutouts. He has moved on to the Toronto Maple Leafs since (and apparently brought his domination with him) but the man left behind, Kings starter Jonathan Quick, has continued to struggle. He may be a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, a Stanley Cup winner and even a Vezina Trophy finalist but Quick was just 1-5-2 against the Preds all-time coming into the night.

In front of 16,416 at Bridgestone Arena, the Predators played their first overtime game of the young season but fell to the Kings in the shootout, 2-1.

Playing in his 300th NHL game, Pekka Rinne made 29 saves on 30 Kings shots but couldn’t stop Anze Kopitar‘s sweet backhand roof shot in the shootout and, as a result, took the loss.

Quick turned aside 34 of 35 but denied all three shootout attempts as well, giving his team the road win and improving to 2-5-2 all-time versus Nashville.

“The first 10 minutes of the game, we were out shot eight to four,” Trotz said. “But the next 45-50 minutes, we out shot them 30-16. I thought we controlled the game but we ran into a real good goaltender tonight.”

Things looked promising for the home team early in the contest when Matt Cullen got his first as a Predator early. There was a mad scramble around the Los Angeles crease thanks to hard work by Gabriel Bourque and Craig Smith when the puck squirted free to Cullen. He corralled it, pulled it back and snapped it into the top of the net to make it 1-0, Nashville.

There’s an old adage in hockey that says “you never want to give up a goal in the last minute of a period.” Unfortunately for Nashville, that’s exactly what they did. Kings defenseman Slava Voynov found himself all alone after all five Predators were on one half of the ice. Mike Richards slung a pass over to the 2008 second round pick and he potted his second goal of the year and 16th of his career to tie the game.

Despite chances on both ends, the rest of regulation went scoreless, forcing overtime. Nashville had a chance to pick up the two points in the extra session once Alec Martinez high-sticked Ryan Ellis, putting the Preds on the rare OT power play. They couldn’t find the back of the net, however, and the teams went to a shootout. Anze Kopitar was the only one to score, giving the Kings the victory.

“I thought we were the better team,” Trotz said. “Our penalty kill was big when it needed to (be), we just needed another goal and couldn’t come up with it. If we play that way on this road trip, we’ll collect some points.”

The Predators will visit Montreal on Saturday, Winnipeg on Sunday and then Minnesota before returning home next Thursday.

Puck drops at 6:00pm Central Saturday.

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THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Anze Kopitar (LA)
2. Pekka Rinne (NSH)
3. Jonathan Quick (LA)

ALL QUOTES courtesy of the Nashville Predators media relations staff and/or the Fox Sports Tennessee broadcast