Budaj gets fourth shutout of season for scrappy Kings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A road game for Nic Dowd definitely had a home feeling to it.
Peter Budaj made 28 saves and Dowd, a Huntsville, Alabama native, scored to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Nick Shore, Jeff Carter and Devin Setoguchi also scored for Los Angeles. Playing the sixth of their season-long nine-game road swing, the Kings improved their record to 3-2-1 on the current trip.
Budaj made 12 saves in the first period, nine in the second and seven in the third en route to his fourth shutout of the season and 15th of his career.
“I felt good tonight, I was seeing the puck well,” Budaj said. “The guys were doing a great job blocking shots. It always helps because Nashville is known for getting shots from the point and then trying to jam the net and just try to get the second, third opportunities. We eliminated that.”
Pekka Rinne made 21 saves for Nashville, which had a two-game winning streak come to an end.
“I definitely think that from a consistency standpoint, it needs to be better,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “Win two, lose two, win two, lose one, win one, lose three - you’re going nowhere in mud really quick. We’ve got to string something together.”
The Kings have not allowed a power-play goal in eight consecutive games. In killing off three Nashville power plays, Los Angeles allowed just three shots on goal in the 6 minutes they were shorthanded.
“We’re limiting the number of penalties that we take, (that) obviously helps, two or three a game,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We have good centermen that are pretty good penalty killers. There’s no secret to it.”
Shore scored the game’s first goal at 6:33 of the opening period.
Jordan Nolan carried the puck into the low slot and sent a pass to Shore in the right faceoff circle. Shore attempted to pass it back to Nolan, but the puck deflected off the stick of Nashville’s Mike Ribeiro and past Rinne.
The score remained 1-0 into the third, when Dowd and Carter scored 9 seconds apart.
Dowd, who grew up 100 miles south of Nashville, connected from the left faceoff circle at 4:25 with a wrist shot that squeezed just underneath Rinne’s leg pad.
Several of Dowd’s family members made the short trip north to see him play his first-ever NHL game in Nashville.
“Minus the goal, I think just playing here in general, I was just excited to be around my family and get to see them after,” Dowd said. “Very few times all five of them, six of them are going to be able to see me play at once.”
After winning the ensuing faceoff against Ribeiro, Carter carried the puck down the right side and snapped a shot by Rinne for his team-leading 17th goal of the season.
Carter has 25 points in 24 career games against Nashville.
“There are some things we can do better defensively too,” Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. “Like tonight in the third, we definitely left (Rinne) hanging back there, but I think it’s a big thing from the start. We’ve got to go and try to get the first goal and win the game. The game is so much easier when you have that lead, you’re playing with the momentum and everything. We’ve got to make sure we do that.”
Setoguchi connected at 11:39 of the third off a nice pass from Kings captain Anze Kopitar just outside Rinne’s crease.
The assist was Kopitar’s 700th career NHL point.
Notes: Predators D P.K. Subban missed his fourth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. . Nashville C Calle Jarnkrok played in his 200th career NHL game. ... Budaj is 9-5-0 in his career against Nashville. . The Kings are 11-1-1 when leading after two periods this season.
Kings: Travel to Dallas on Friday
Predators: Face Minnesota at home on Tuesday