Rinne, Forsberg lead Predators over Kings 5-0
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After welcoming Filip Forsberg back to the lineup, the Predators looked like the team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Pekka Rinne made 19 saves, Forsberg had a goal and an assist, and Nashville beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-0 on Thursday night.
Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson also scored. Ryan Johansen had three assists.
“I think it was maybe one of our best 60-minute efforts in a while,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.
Making his first start since representing the Predators in last weekend’s All-Star Game, Rinne earned his fifth shutout of the season and 48th of his career. With play stayed largely in the other end, Rinne had a chance to enjoy the show put on by his teammates.
“I didn’t have a lot of work tonight and that was just fun to watch our guys,” Rinne said. “Especially our forwards, they played a really strong game. I thought that we were on-point on the forecheck, we turned a lot of pucks over and created chances off them.”
Jonathan Quick returned after missing the Kings’ previous two games with an undisclosed injury. He made 31 saves.
“They had the momentum for 60 minutes,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “They checked hard tonight. They had a simple game plan and we got checked off the puck all night.”
Nashville peppered Quick with 15 shots on goal in the first, beating him three times.
Smith scored first at 10:02 of the opening period on a power play, about a minute after Johansen had a goal disallowed. Los Angeles challenged Johansen’s score, and after video review, officials determined that Arvidsson pushed Kings defenseman Drew Doughty into Quick prior to Johansen’s shot.
Forsberg made it 2-0 at 16:02 of the first. With Nashville on a prolonged two-man advantage, Forsberg beat Quick with a wrist shot that deflected in off of the diving goaltender.
The Predators activated Forsberg off injured reserve earlier Thursday. He missed Nashville’s previous 11 games with an upper-body injury.
Laviolette reunited Johansen, Forsberg and Arvidsson on the team’s top line. The trio combined for six points in the game.
“We’re a lot more deadly with him on our side,” Johansen said of Forsberg. “We had a lot of fun out there tonight supporting each other and outworking our opponents and getting some results too finding the back of the net.”
Jarnkrok took advantage of Doughty’s turnover and made it 3-0 at 17:21 of the first, finally swatting a backhand past Quick on the short side after two attempts.
“They are really good checkers,” Kings forward Tanner Pearson said. “You are transitioning up ice, they are closing it pretty quickly from behind and try to create turnovers that way. They beat us tonight.”
Sissons ended a 29-game goalless stretch when he beat Quick at 11:01 of the second, and Arvidsson scored at 9:44 of the third.
NOTES: Quick is 5-10-2 in his career against Nashville. ... Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar ended their six-game point streaks for LA. ... The Predators have not allowed a power-play goal in their last four games. ... Nashville is 25-2-3 when scoring first this season.
Kings: Host Arizona on Saturday.
Predators: Host New York Rangers on Saturday.
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