Preds top Kings in OT

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

LOS ANGELES--The numbers didn't appear to compute for the Los Angeles Kings.

They started Darcy Kuemper, who won three out of four previous matchups against the Nashville Predators, with one shutout, in favor of Jonathan Quick and his 5-8-2 career record against them. But that backfired early.

They prepared for the unorthodox 1-1-3 attack by Nashville. But that adjustment didn't go well at first.

And the Kings' shiny home record looked like it would take its first real smudge when they were down by three goals going into the third period Saturday at Staples Center.

But the Kings rallied mightily and settled for a 4-3 overtime loss in a crazy tilt that ended when Viktor Arvidsson scored on a breakaway with 20 seconds remaining.

The Kings, who still have not taken a regulation home loss (5-0-2), stormed back from 3-0 down with goals by Alex Iafallo, his first in the NHL, and Christian Folin, his first with the Kings, in the opening six minutes of the third period, and tied it on Alec Martinez's power play goal.

Iafallo took a pass from Anze Kopitar and scored on an open net in transition. It was an ironically easy goal considering the countless chances the talented winger has seen earlier this season. He is the third Kings player to get his first NHL goal this season, after Kurtis MacDermid and Michael Amadio.

Folin's score was part smarts and part poor-decision making by Predators backup goalie Juuse 1/8cq3/8 Saros. Folin faked a dump-in inside the red line but shot it on net. Saros moved to his left in anticipation. He stuck his stick out to stop the shot but the puck ramped off it and in to make it 3-2.

It was the break the Kings sought after an atypical first 40 minutes.

Kuemper and his teammates allowed two goals on the first three shots and chased the game through two periods. Two Kings power plays to start the game went for naught and Nashville, which beat the Ducks on Friday night, took the game from there with two goals in 54 seconds in the first period.

Miikka Salomaki raced to catch a length-of-ice lob pass from Yannick Weber and lifted the puck past Kuemper. Then P.K. Subban's soft wrist shot from the right side took a bounce through Jake Muzzin and Kuemper on its way to the net.


Craig Smith gave the Predators a 3-0 lead early in the second period on a shot past Kuemper's glove. Filip Forsberg slipped a pass to Smith streaking down the left side in one of the prettier plays of the game that muted the announced crowd of 18,230 fans.

Before the puck dropped, those same fans and the Kings were smiling on the bench upon listening to Dave "Tiger" Williams in a pre-game tribute for the NHL's all-time leader in penalty minutes.

"Get rid of these ... rules and get back to old-time hockey," Williams said to the players when asked if his record will ever be broken.

Williams was obliged with two fights in the first seven minutes. MacDermid laid a big hit on Calle Jarnkrok and therefore was summoned to fight Cody McLeod in a heavyweight tilt that wasn't much of one. It was MacDermid's first regular season fight for the Kings, an aspect he's evolved away from in what Kings assistant general manager Mike Futa called "one of the best development stories ever."

The Kings signed the undrafted MacDermid in 2013 and he was among the leaders in penalty minutes in the Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League. But he put in the work to learn his position, with help from former Kings defenseman Sean O' Donnell, who took MacDermid aside this summer and taught him to think the game differently.

Kings coach John Stevens has trusted MacDermid in various situations, including the second unit power play unit. Stevens also mixes up his defense pairs, so there are instances when MacDermid plays with Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty.

"It's been an awesome experience," MacDermid said. "I'm very honored to be here. It's just taking it day by day and coming in and working hard as possible and getting better every day. That's been my motto for a long time now, and I'm going to keep doing that."

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