Predators score three power-play goals, beat Los Angeles 4-1

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Scott Hartnell celebrated his 400th NHL game with a power-play goal and the Nashville Predators beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Thursday night. "It was a big win for us," coach Barry Trotz said. "We needed that to sort of getting back that feeling of winning again. We got contributions from all areas of our lineup."

Kimmo Timonen and rookie Alexander Radulov also scored on power plays and Martin Erat had a career-high three assists, helping the Central Division-leading Predators end a three-game losing streak. Teammate Jerred Smithson added a short-handed goal off a sloppy turnover by rookie defenceman Peter Harrold.

Goaltender Chris Mason, making his seventh consecutive start since Tomas Vokoun tore ligaments in his left thumb on Nov. 23, stopped 20 shots.

"Chris has been great," teammate Paul Kariya said. "He played extremely well for us last year when Vokie went down, and he's been fantastic for us this year. It's terrific to have two goalies like that and know whoever's playing is going to be there for you."

Alexander Frolov scored his 17th goal for Los Angeles with 16:20 remaining. The embarrassed Kings held a closed-door players-only meeting after the game that lasted a half-hour.

"We didn't play with the desperation that I know we can play with," coach Marc Crawford said. "I feel awful about that effort. When you have an effort like that, you really do have to search your souls. And we're going to have to do some serious searching for the entire team."

After a scoreless and penalty-free first period, the Kings were called for five minor penalties in the second. Two of those power plays were converted into goals by the Predators, who were 1-for-21 with the man advantage over their previous five games.

Dustin Brown and Alexander Frolov received hooking penalties 3:36 apart for fouling Kariya. The Predators capitalized on the second power play at 6:46 of the second period, as Erat's centring pass from the right of the net was redirected through Dan Cloutier's legs by Hartnell as he was knocked down from behind by Kings defenceman Aaron Miller.

"Our power play wasn't very good the last few games and it's kind of cost us," Kariya said. "So it was nice for us to win the game on the power play. It came through big-time for us."

Hartnell's goal was his first in 20 career games against Los Angeles.

"I was thinking about that before the game - that I'd never scored here," Hartnell said. "Some teams just have your number. My agent's from L.A., so it was nice to finally get one."

The Kings squandered their only power-play opportunity of the second period in a big way after Timonen was sent off for hooking. Harrold had the puck in his own end and tried to pass it back to Mattias Norstrom, but fanned on it. Smithson, who was forechecking on the play, quickly took possession in the slot and fired a 25-foot wrist shot past Cloutier's stick for his first short-handed goal in 117 NHL games.

"Jerred Smithson did a great job pressuring their defencemen and I think that young guy got a little nervous and coughed it up," Hartnell said. "But it was a great shot that he beat Cloutier with."

Jeff Cowan was serving a roughing penalty when Timonen made it 3-0 with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Cloutier as Hartnell screened the Kings' goalie. Radulov, the 15th overall pick in the 2004 draft, converted a centring pass by Josef Vasicek with 12:03 remaining for his eighth goal in 15 NHL games.

"He's just a pure goal-scorer," Mason said. "Some guys are just that way. He's really deceptive with the way he shoots the puck and he finds a way to put it in the net. That's his forte. He's really showed that he deserves to be here."

Notes: Nashville RW Steve Sullivan left the game in the first period after sustaining a groin injury on his seventh shift. Trotz said he is doubtful for the Sharks game and added that RW Patrick Leahy could be recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL.



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