LA Kings’ unexpected hero leads comeback win over Predators

LA Kings Predators

Trailing 3-1 late in the third period on Tuesday, LA Kings defenseman Matt Roy put the team on his back, scoring two goals and forcing extra time. The Kings and Nashville Predators went to a shootout, with Gabe Vilardi’s tally being the difference.

Cal Petersen made his second start of the year and looked significantly better than in Minnesota on Saturday night. The 27-year-old stopped 29-of-32 shots and all three shootout attempts from the Predators, securing his second win of the young season.

“I think he started to settle in. We talked about the disruption of his training camp and the fact that goalies take a little while to find their game, but all he’s done is won,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said of his goaltender. “He should be confident; he should feel good about himself and was a big part of the win.”

Much like Saturday night, the LA Kings found themselves trailing on the game’s first shot. Cody Glass tallied his first NHL goal, sending a shot from just above the right dot, beating Petersen farside.

Gabe Vilardi responded at the 4:24 mark of the second period on the powerplay, re-directing Arthur Kaliyev’s shot on net. Vilardi’s tally marked his fourth goal of the year through the first five games.

The Predators scored the next two, with Filip Forsberg and Tanner Jeannot making it a 3-1 Nashville lead.

It seemed the game would end that way before Roy’s goal with seven minutes left in regulation pulled the Kings within one. Brendan Lemieux and Roy led a rush up-ice, with the former throwing a puck at the net just as Roy arrived to bang it home.

Then with just over two minutes left, Vilardi’s offensive zone keep had the Predators’ defense out of position. He dished the puck to a streaking Roy in the low slot, who first took a wrist shot past Jusse Saros to tie the game at three.

Roy, who had just two goals in 67 games a year ago, already has three in five games this season.

“We’re going to inevitably have situations like this again throughout the season, and we can reach back and know that we’ve done it before,” Petersen said of his team’s effort. “It’s part of our identity now, and it was part of it last year, so now we have the confidence that we’re never out of it, and we can find ways to come back and get points, win games.”

In the overtime period, Mikey Anderson made perhaps the blocked shot of the night, defending a wide-open net, and Petersen followed with an incredible save of his moments later.

Vilardi had not only the lone tally in the shootout for either team, but his goal on Saros was downright nasty.

POWERPLAY

Despite a parade to the penalty box for Nashville, the Kings converted on just 1-of-8 powerplay opportunities. Ideally, you’d like to see them convert on two or three, given the volume of chances.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles (3-2-0) will look to keep their road record perfect with a visit to Pittsburgh on Thursday. The team will have a full scheduled day off on Wednesday before re-joining in the morning skate on Thursday.

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