NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – In a preview of their potential playoff matchup, the Nashville Predators gave the Los Angeles Kings plenty to think about.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists, leading Nashville to a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Monday night.
James Neal and Roman Josi each added a goal and an assist for the Predators, winners in three of their last four. Mike Fisher and Filip Forsberg also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 28 saves in his 30th win of the season.
Nashville sits in the first wild-card position in the Western Conference, while the Pacific Division-leading Kings are second overall in the conference standings. That puts the teams in line to meet in the first round of the postseason.
“We’ve got a lot of young bodies in this room and when they go home tonight, they’re going to look at the standings and the results and say, ‘Wow, we beat one of the best teams in this league that’s talked about as a Stanley Cup contender,’ ” Johansen said. “So we’ll definitely use it as confidence for our group in this room and maybe being a playoff matchup.”
Los Angeles defensemen Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez each contributed a goal, but the Kings had their four-game winning streak snapped. Anze Kopitar had two assists.
“I thought we had a decent first period,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. “The second period we turned pucks over a little bit, gave them odd-man rushes. Our forwards had trouble getting to the net against their defense.”
Neal scored the game’s first goal at 7:37 of the second period.
In the left circle inside the Los Angeles zone, Johansen won a faceoff back to Neal at the top of the circle, where he immediately fired a shot low to the far side that just slid past the outstretched left leg of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Fisher doubled the Nashville lead at 13:17 of the second.
With the Predators on a power play after the Kings were called for too many men on the ice, Fisher’s initial shot from the slot was denied by Quick. But the rebound fell in the crease, where a diving Fisher poked it into the net for his 12th goal of the season.
“I was just trying to get the puck on net and just kind of saw the puck sitting there and took a stab at it,” Fisher said. “I was fortunate to get it through.”
Before the opening faceoff, Fisher was honored for reaching 1,000 games played on March 3. Fisher’s parents, wife Carrie Underwood, and son Isaiah were part of the on-ice ceremony.
Flyers 4, Islanders 1
In New York, Brandon Manning’s first NHL goal midway through the second period snapped a tie and powered Philadelphia to a win over the Islanders.
Nick Cousins, Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux also scored for the Flyers, who won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Rangers 4, Panthers 2
In New York, Rick Nash scored his first goal since returning from a leg injury and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves in leading the Rangers over Florida.
Viktor Stalberg, Mats Zuccarello and Tanner Glass also scored for New York.
Maple Leafs 5, Flames 2
In Toronto, William Nylander had a goal and two assists as the Maple Leafs skated past Calgary.
P.A. Parenteau, Zach Hyman, Colin Greening and Josh Leivo also scored for Toronto, which has won four of five.