Goaltending has been a story all season for the Los Angeles Kings and it took just 39 seconds for that to be the story again against the Nashville Predators. Despite a big second-period push, the Kings were unable to hold off the Predators, losing 5-3.
The game started about as poorly as possible for the Kings. Just 19 seconds in a point shot from William Carrier was tipped in by Mikael Granlund to put the Predators up 1-0.
Then, just 20 seconds later Matt Duchene threw a spin around backhand on net from the slot that beat Pheonix Copley five-hole. This goal ended Copley's night, the second time he's been pulled in as many games.
With Jonathan Quick now in net, Brendan Lemieux and Tanner Jeannot capped off an action-packed first two minutes with a fight.
After this, the Kings settled into the game and started to find their grove.
They were given a stroke of luck as Ryan Johansen's stick broke on a breakout attempt, giving the Kings a three-on-one. Sean Durzi finished off the chance five-hole to bring the Kings back within one.
The Kings continued growing into the game, forcing Juuse Saros to make a few nice saves.
The first-period expected goals ended at 0.89 for the Kings and 0.7 for the Predators.
The Kings continued to carry play into the second period. Just six minutes in, Adrian Kempe tied the game at two. After some nifty passing from Drew Doughty and Kopitar, Kempe was sprung behind the Predator's defense. He poked the puck on net, and got a fortunate bounce off his body and in.
Continuing to control play, the Kings got a big chance with a late power play. On the ensuing power play, Quinton Byfield picked up the puck right in front of Saros. And after a few nice stickhandles, deposited the puck above Saros' glove to put the Kings up 3-2, giving them their first lead of the game.
Quick made a few really nice saves, particularly one on a breakaway, giving him 13 saves through two periods.
After two, the expected goals were; 2.45 for the Kings and 1.6 for the Predators.
The third period was a turn in the wrong direction for LA.
A penalty halfway through gave Nashville a chance back into the game. The Predator's power play is 1 for their last 25 but scored when it mattered Saturday, as a Ryan Johansen high tip beat Quick over the glove.
The Predators then regained the lead five minutes later, with Duchene beating Quick on the rush for his second of the night.
The Predators put the nail in LA's coffin three minutes later. Cole Smith directed a Roman Josi shot in from the point for his first career NHL goal, giving Nashville a 5-3 lead.
The Kings had a nice late push, highlighted by a great feed from Byfield to Kevin Fiala backdoor. Fiala had an open net to shoot at, but fumbled the puck and couldn't finish.
The comeback wasn't meant to be and the Kings dropped their third straight game.
The Kings are back in action Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks.