for this game

Jones' late goal lifts Predators past Kings

Mar 17, 2009 - 6:15 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Nashville Predators strengthened their playoff hopes and damaged the Los Angeles Kings' chances of reaching the postseason.

Ryan Jones scored the go-ahead goal with 2:18 remaining, Steve Sullivan and Shea Weber also scored, and Joel Ward had a goal and an assist in the Predators' 4-3 victory over the fading Kings on Monday night.

"We've got two games left on this road trip, and we're trying to set ourselves up so that it doesn't come down to Game 82 and all the pressure to try to get in with one game left," Sullivan said.

With their eighth victory in 11 games, the Predators overtook Dallas and Edmonton in the Western Conference playoff race and moved into seventh place. They are a point ahead of the Stars, and lead the ninth-place Oilers by two with 12 games remaining. Dallas has a game in hand on Nashville, and Edmonton has two.

"We want to win every night, but our mentality right now is try and scrape points out of every game that we can and be as gritty as we can be," Sullivan said. "Tonight was one of those games that puts us in a good position. We knew we had to win this game. We wanted to propel ourselves back into the playoffs and make sure we created some separation between us and them."

Anze Kopitar, Teddy Purcell and Michal Handzus scored for the Kings, who have lost three straight.

Los Angeles will bring a six-game road losing streak into Boston on Thursday, starting a six-game trip that probably will decide their playoff chances. The 13th-place Kings are six points behind eighth-place Dallas with 13 games remaining.

On the winning goal, Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis barely kept the puck inside the Kings blue line before taking a slap shot that Jones tipped in the low slot. Erik Ersberg couldn't control the rebound and went sprawling across the crease as Jones backhanded his seventh goal under Ersberg's flailing arm.

"It was a good job by Dan Hamhuis," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "The puck was at Dan's feet and he was trying to get it through. And Ryan Jones -- what he does best around the crease area is finding those loose pucks."

Sullivan put Nashville ahead 3-2 at 18:10 of the second period with his eighth goal. But Handzus got the equalizer with 10:07 left in regulation, whipping his 15th goal between Pekka Rinne's pads.

"They have a really good goalie, and we managed to get three by him. But in the end, it wasn't enough," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We have to do a better job of keeping the puck out of our zone."

The Predators, who came in with the NHL's second-worst power-play percentage, took a 2-1 lead at 1:24 of the second during an advantage.

Ward was left unchecked at the left of the net when he got a cross-ice pass from J.P. Dumont and tucked his 12th goal between Ersberg's outstretched leg and the post.

"We got away from our game," Kopitar said. "We did a really good job of chipping the puck into their zone and getting the forecheck going, and we drew a lot of penalties off of that. But sometimes we get too fancy. They created turnovers and came right back into our zone."

Purcell tied it at 16:25 of the second while Ville Koistinen was off for hooking Kyle Calder. Alexander Frolov got the puck from Purcell at the Nashville goal line to the left of the net and threw it toward the crease, where it hit Handzus before Purcell swept his fourth goal past Rinne's stick.

After coming up empty on two power plays, the Kings opened the scoring at 14:42 of the first period with Kopitar's 25th goal and sixth in eight games. Brown's wrist shot from the top of the left circle hit the left post and caromed to the other side of the crease, where Kopitar banked the rebound off Rinne's body.

Nashville tied it with 15 seconds left in the first period on Weber's 19th goal.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 2 1 4
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - ANZE KOPITAR 25 (DUSTIN BROWN) 14:42
    NAS - SHEA WEBER 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, JOEL WARD) 19:45
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JOEL WARD 12 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAVID LEGWAND)
    1:24
    LOS - (PP) TEDDY PURCELL 4 (MICHAL HANDZU

    Mar 17 1:06 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 4
    LOS ANGELES 3
    3RD PRD: NAS - RYAN JONES 7 (DAN HAMHUIS, JORDIN TOOTOO) 17:42

    Predators 4, Kings 3  3rd - 2:18Mar 17 1:01 AM
  • 66
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 27 roots (Close Finish)

    Predators 4, Kings 3  3rd - 2:18Mar 17 1:01 AM
  • 93
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots (Close Finish)

    Predators 3, Kings 3  3rd - 3:40Mar 17 12:57 AM
  • 53
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 29 roots (Close Finish)

    Predators 3, Kings 3  3rd - 8:00Mar 17 12:49 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 3
    LOS ANGELES 3
    3RD PRD: LOS - MICHAL HANDZUS 15 (WAYNE SIMMONDS, KYLE CALDER) 9:53

    Predators 3, Kings 3  3rd - 10:07Mar 17 12:45 AM
  • 24
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 24 roots (Close Finish)

    Predators 3, Kings 2  3rd - 10:45Mar 17 12:43 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 2 3
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - ANZE KOPITAR 25 (DUSTIN BROWN) 14:42
    NAS - SHEA WEBER 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, JOEL WARD) 19:45
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JOEL WARD 12 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAVID LEGWAND)
    1:24
    LOS - (PP) TEDDY PURCELL 4 (

    Mar 17 12:10 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 3
    LOS ANGELES 2
    2ND PRD: NAS - STEVE SULLIVAN 8 (MARTIN ERAT, RYAN SUTER) 18:10

    Predators 3, Kings 2  2nd - 1:50Mar 17 12:06 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    LOS ANGELES 2
    2ND PRD: LOS - (PP) TEDDY PURCELL 4 (MICHAL HANDZUS, ALEXANDER FROLOV)
    16:25

    Predators 2, Kings 2  2nd - 3:35Mar 17 12:04 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    LOS ANGELES 1
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JOEL WARD 12 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAVID LEGWAND)
    1:24

    Predators 2, Kings 1  2nd - 18:36Mar 16 11:35 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - ANZE KOPITAR 25 (DUSTIN BROWN) 14:42
    NAS - SHEA WEBER 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, JOEL WARD) 19:45
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS 6 6
    LOS 11

    Mar 16 11:15 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    LOS ANGELES 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - SHEA WEBER 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, JOEL WARD) 19:45

    Predators 1, Kings 1  1st - 0:15Mar 16 11:14 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    LOS ANGELES 1
    1ST PRD: LOS - ANZE KOPITAR 25 (DUSTIN BROWN) 14:42

    Predators 0, Kings 1  1st - 5:18Mar 16 11:05 PM