O'Reilly, Predators grind out win to hand reeling Kings 10th loss in 11 games
“They brought it to us very early and we’re on our heels, and then Juice, I thought, bailed us out until we got things going and kind of found our game,” O’Reilly said. “It was kind of playoff style, heavy and fast. That was a big win for us.”
“We fixed one area tonight, we didn’t give up a lot," coach Todd McLellan said. "When we did, I thought Rittich played really well. The other end of the rink, you got to score goals to win. For only giving up two, we should be able to win every night.”
Nyquist put the Predators up 2-1 with 6:20 left in the second period, putting the pad save of Luke Schenn’s shot into an open net after Doughty’s power-play goal canceled out O’Reilly’s tip with the man advantage.
“That’s exactly what I was hoping for,” Nyquist said. “We got a great shot by Schenner. It’s one of those pucks that comes right to your stick, and you just got to bury it.”
O’Reilly redirected Josi’s shot, marking the defenseman’s seventh assist during a five-game span. He has at least 30 assists for the ninth straight season, excluding the COVID-19-shortened 2021 campaign.
“Talking about power play, we haven’t been as good as of late,” O’Reilly said. “We have to be more simple, get pucks to the net, winning battles. Great heads up play by him and I was able to get a piece of it.”
Hours after general manager Rob Blake gave McLellan a vote of confidence amid the Kings’ slump, some of the same issues that have defined the recent poor stretch popped up again.
Los Angeles failed to score at even strength for the third time in four games, and McLellan sees that lack of offense becoming a weight on how his players are approaching the game.
“We had 3-on-2s, we had a 4-on-2, we had some other entries where we really gargled the puck,” McLellan said. “Earlier on in the year, those were nice plays that we made. So a little bit of it is stress and tension. Got to fight through it.”
Doughty did score for the third time in five games, while also reaching double digits in goals for the first time since 2017-18.
Speaking before the Kings passed the halfway point of their season, Blake pledged to stand by McLellan, who is in his fifth season and has reached the playoffs in each of the past two years. "I’m gonna rely on the players and the leadership to get us out of that,” Blake said.
Predators: Visit the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Kings: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL