LOS ANGELES — Some porous penalty killing condemned the Kings’ juggled lineup to a 4-2 loss despite outshooting the Nashville Predators 48-20 on Thursday night at Crypto.com Arena.

Wingers Dustin Brown and Martin Frk scored for the Kings, while Jonathan Quick had 16 saves. The Kings scored once on four power plays while giving up two power-play goals and killing just one penalty successfully.

Winger Filip Forsberg and defenseman Roman Josi had two points apiece for a Nashville team that has won 10 of its last 12 games. Forward Matt Duchene scored, former Kings winger Matt Luff scored his first goal of the season and center Yakov Trenin added an empty-netter. Juuse Saros made 46 saves against the Kings’ season-high shot total.

“If you look at our five-on-five play, I think we outplayed them the whole night from start to finish,” said Brown, who played for the first time since Dec. 19 after a stay in the COVID protocols.

Brown’s return was hardly an even tradeoff given that they lost forwards Alex Iafallo, Carl Grundstrom and Alex Turcotte as well as defenseman Christian Wolanin to the COVID non-roster list during their four-day break. Defenseman Olli Maatta exited protocols, but he was dealing with an unrelated illness, opening the door for 23-year-old Jacob Moverare to make his NHL debut. Forward Lias Andersson played his first game since Dec. 28 and Frk dressed for the first time since his lone NHL game last season (Feb. 5, 2021).

“Those players came in and gave us fairly good nights, but I can’t wait until we can get our whole team back,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

The Kings applied pressure offensively late in the game, but they were done in by Trenin’s tap into the unguarded cage.

“You have to prevent in certain situations and finish in others, and we failed to do that tonight. Everything else in between was fairly good,” McLellan said.

With 9:27 left, the Kings cashed in on their fourth power-play opportunity to cut their deficit to 3-2. Winger Viktor Arvidsson moved the puck up the wall to defenseman Drew Doughty, who faked a shot and dished to Frk, whose searing shot from the point became his first NHL goal since March 11, 2020.

“He did what we asked him to do coming up: shoot the puck in the net,” McLellan said. “He was the one guy that finished on the power play … it was a real good night for him.”

The second period was only slightly kinder to the Kings than the first. They fell down 3-0 less than three minutes into the frame. It was their third goal surrendered immediately after an offensive zone entry. After a Kings’ neutral-zone turnover, Nashville gained the blue line and winger Michael McCarron set up Luff for a one-timer in tight. Luff called his team’s game “a greasy road win.”

“The penalty-kill (entries), we had good pressure spots and they made great plays to escape the ice,” McLellan said. “The other one was a transition goal where we should have done a better job at picking things up.”

The Kings also had another opportunity due to an infraction. This time Adrian Kempe was awarded a penalty shot. He failed to score off his forehand in the third consecutive Kings game involving a penalty shot. Entering Thursday’s games, there had been just 16 all season across the NHL, and the Kings have now been involved in five (three of those as shooters), and none have resulted in a goal.

Midway through the game, the Kings got on the board with a superlative individual effort by Brown. Nashville defenseman Alexandre Carrier fanned on the puck and Brown pounced. He darted off for a breakaway that saw him fake a shot and then open up Saros with swift transitions from forehand to backhand and back to his forehand for his fifth goal of the season.

Winger Brendan Lemieux fought defenseman Mark Borowiecki. It was the Kings’ fourth fighting major of the season, all of which were assessed to Lemieux. Nashville has been the league’s most bellicose team with 20 fights.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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