Game 10; 7-3-0
LOS ANGELES — Last week, Dustin Byufglien of the Winnipeg Jets said that the new 3-on-3 overtime format is “stupid.” This writer remains confused as to how anyone can feel that way, especially after Saturday’s wild extra session at STAPLES Center between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. Even better, the home fans left happy as Jeff Carter snapped Nashville’s five-game winning streak against the Kings with a hard-fought 4-3 victory, winning on Halloween.
Entering Saturday, the last time the Kings had beaten the Predators was October 27, 2013. But on this day, the Kings looked determined to change that, in addition to extending their win-streak to seven games. But not only had the Preds taken five-straight from the silver-and-black, but they entered Saturday’s contest with a 7-1-1 record on the season. The Kings, however, were not intimidated.
In the first period, it was a goaltenders’ show as Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne were flawless. The Preds edge the Kings in shots by an 8-7 margin but no one could solve either netminder as the teams skated to a scoreless draw after one.
In the second, the power plays took control.
4:28 into the middle frame, Tyler Toffoli backhanded his eighth past Rinne to give the Los Angeles the lead. Christian Ehrhoff and Milan Lucic assisted on the power-play tally. But a little later on, the Kings took their first penalty of the afternoon — Brayden McNabb for high-sticking — and the Preds made them pay immediately as, just 14 seconds into the man-advantage, James Neal roofed his team-leading seventh over Quick to put Nashville on the board.
Then, just a few minutes later with the Preds on the man-advantage once again, defenseman Shea Weber teed up a point shot that blew past Quick to give Nashville their first lead of the contest. The goal was Weber’s second of the year.
Suddenly, the Kings found themselves behind the eight-ball, but that was nothing compared to what they felt late in the period when Christian Ehrhoff was hit hard into the boards from behind by Nashville’s Mike Ribeiro.
Having a history of concussions, many were worried about Ehrhoff, who remained down on the ice for a few seconds. The German blueliner was able to get up and skate off under his own volition but left the game and did not return. The injury was of the upper-body variety, so we all hope that there was no concussion involved. As for Ribeiro, he received a two-minute minor, but Los Angeles could not score.
Just under five minutes into the third, Trevor Lewis took a high-sticking penalty which left Kings fans uneasy.
Unable to kill off either of their first two penalties, the Kings were successful on the third try before Lewis rushed down the wing before feeding Tyler Toffoli who crashed the net to score his second of the night to tie the game. Jake Muzzin helped out with the second assist. But the Kings were not done there.
Just 3:02 later, the silver-and-black crashed the Nashville net when Andy Andreoff potted home his first of the season to regain the Los Angeles lead. The momentum was back in the home team’s favour, but just under four minutes later, Ryan Ellis blasted a top-corner shot — his second — over Quick’s glove side to tie the game once again.
The Preds did have a chance to regain the lead late but an alert Andy Andreoff jumped on a loose puck that was trickling on Quick’s open side, keeping the game knotted up.
In overtime, the Kings and Preds went 3-on-3 and it was a wild, back-and-forth session. But with the Preds looking to end it on a 2-on-1, Drew Doughty made a critical stop before feeding Jeff Carter on a breakaway who then lured Rinne to go down before roofing his fourth upstairs to end the game and give Los Angeles their seventh-straight victory.
While Carter was the hero on this day, Tyler Toffoli wrapped up his phenomenal October with a two-goal output while linemate Milan Lucic continues to shine, extending his point streak to five games. The aforementioned Drew Doughty, as per usual, had a sound defensive output while Andy Andreoff instilled some self-confidence with his first goal of the year.
Both netminders were also great in this one, despite allowing a few goals each.
The real concern now for the Kings is the status of Christian Ehrhoff as fans sincerely hope that he did not get a concussion.
It was a rough start to the month but the Kings blew through October with seven-straight wins and are probably sorry to see it end. But the silver-and-black do hope that their success this past month transitions smoothly into November as they begin the month with crucial back-to-back road games, starting on Monday in the Windy City where they visit the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.