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Matt Duchene Scores Shootout Winner, Predators Top Kings 2-1

LOS ANGELES — Matt Duchene scored in the second round of the shootout and the Nashville Predators snapped the Los Angeles Kings’ five-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Saturday night.

Duchene, who scored his 27th shootout goal in 71 chances, put a shot between Pheonix Copley’s legs for the only score in the tiebreaker.

“I was mad at myself in Vancouver for missing there. The boys count on me in that situation. You have to take advantage of it,” said Duchene, who is 4 of 6 in shootouts this season. “We deserved to win tonight. I thought we played a real stingy, smart game.”

Tommy Novak scored for the Predators and Kevin Lankinen made 26 saves. Nashville has earned points in four of the five games on its road trip and are six points behind Winnipeg for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Predators though have have three games in hand on the Jets.

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, right, collides with Nashville Predators goaltender Kevin Lankinen during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“I thought in general it was a good hockey game,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “They had some good looks and our goaltender made some big saves. I thought we had some good looks at times and their guy made some good saves. I’m glad we were able to find a way to come out on top.”

Mikey Anderson had the Kings’ goal. and Copley stopped 30 shots. Despite the loss, Los Angeles has picked up a point in six straight games and is one point behind Vegas in the Pacific Division.

“At the end of the night, we lost the special-team battle — penalty kill, power play and the shootout. So we’re fortunate to get a point,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

Nashville improved to 4-2 in shootouts while Los Angeles lost for only the second time in eight shootouts.

Anderson opened the scoring at 9:32 of the first period when he took the pass from Gabriel Vilardi in the slot and beat Lankinen on his glove side with a snap shot. It was the defenseman’s fourth goal of the season and second in the past three games.

Nashville evened it on the power play with 55.2 seconds remaining in the first when Novak scored from high in the slot while Copley was being screened. The goal made Novak the sixth Nashville player with 10 or more goals this season.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene, left, scores past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley (29) during the shootout in an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

It also was the Predators’ 10th power-play goal since Feb. 18, which is third in the league.

“It was a good draw win (off the faceoff) and I kind of felt like my only option was to throw it on net. Good screen by Cody (Glass) and luckily it went in,” Novak said.

Nashville’s Philip Tomasino had the best opportunity in overtime but whiffed on the shot in front of the net.

FIRST GAME

Nashville’s Egor Afanasyev made his NHL debut after being called up from Milwaukee of the AHL on Friday. Afanasyev was a second-round pick by Nashville in 2019 and is the fourth rookie to make his debut for the Predators this season.

SLUMPING

Los Angeles has the league’s fifth-best power play with a 23.9% conversion rate, but it has struggled recently. The Kings were 0 for 3 on Saturday and are 3 for 31 over the past 10 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Kings forward Kevin Fiala missed the game due to a lower-body injury. Fiala, who leads Los Angeles with 68 points, left Thursday’s game at Colorado after a knee-on-knee hit from Andrew Cogliano.

UP NEXT

Predators: At Anaheim on Sunday night.

Kings: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

 

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