Pheonix Copley bounces back vs. Preds, just not enough in 2-1 SO loss

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11: Pheonix Copley #29 of the Los Angeles Kings in goal against the Nashville Predators in the first period at Arena on March 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11: Pheonix Copley #29 of the Los Angeles Kings in goal against the Nashville Predators in the first period at Arena on March 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

For the second time this year, the Los Angeles Kings have fallen to the Nashville Predators. Despite Nashville General Manager David Poile selling heavily at the NHL Trade Deadline, the Preds still found enough juice to edge out the Kings in a shootout. Pheonix Copley was arguably the Player of the Game for the Kings with his 29 saves on 30 shots, which was good enough for a .967 save percentage.

Though the end result was still the same for the LA Kings, the narrative around Pheonix Copley was vastly different this game as opposed to the two teams’ first matchup on January 21, 2023. In Nashville, it seemed as if the 31-year old netminder was not ready to play in Smashville because he let two goals in on three shots before the clock even read 19:00 in the first period.

His time on the ice was 0:39 seconds before he was pulled by Head Coach Todd McLellan for now former King Jonathan Quick. However, that was not the case last night in Los Angeles. Pheonix Copley was dialed in to the game and held the Kings in there all the way to the shootout.

First Period: LA 1, NSH 1

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson opened the scoring for the game in the first period with a wrister from just between the circles to get the crowd going in the game.

Anderson continues to add to his impressive resume, which ultimately led Kings General Manager Rob Blake to sign him to an eight-year extension, worth $33 million dollars in mid-February.

The Kings held onto the one goal lead until Alex Iafallo took a penalty for tripping Preds’ defenseman Ryan McDonagh, forcing the Kings on the penalty kill. Moments later, center Tommy Novak opened up the power play with a shot from the high slot that snuck past Pheonix Copley with less than a minute to go in the first period.

Second Period: LA 1, NSH 1

An early giveaway by Mikey Anderson in the opening minutes of the second period led to four consecutive shots on net for the Predators, and Copley stopped all of them. Cody Glass, Matt Duchene, and Roman Josi could not get it past the North Pole, Alaska native.

The first shot on net for the Kings in this period came from Phillip Danault with 17:57 still on the clock. Predators goaltender Kevin Lankinen got his hands on it and would not let it get past him. Great defense marked the second period with several blocked shots, and ultimately saw no more goals end up in the back of either net.

Third Period: LA 1, NSH 1

Pheonix Copley and Kevin Lankinen held both opposing offenses scoreless for the closing twenty minutes of regualtion. Kings defenseman Matt Roy took a boarding penalty with 14:07 to go in the game. And at the same time, Kiefer Sherwood of the Predators took a roughing penalty against Trevor Moore, so with two guys gone it was 4-on-4 for the next two minutes.

Defense was the name of the period again in the third as a host of missed shots and blocked shots littered the closing minutes. Both teams would head into 3-on-3 overtime to see if a winner would prevail.

Overtime: LA 1, NSH 1

The five-minute overtime started with a faceoff between Kings’ center Anze Kopitar and Preds’ center Matt Duchene. Kopitar gets the faceoff win to start what would become a goal-less overtime period. Two minutes go by and the Preds are outshooting the Kings 3-1, but none of them are getting past Pheonix Copley or Kevin Lankinen. Only four more shots were attempted in the final two minutes and the game was now headed to a shootout.

Shootout: NSH 2, LA 1

Kings’ forward Gabriel Vilardi got the first crack at Lankinen, but could not get the puck past him. Then, Matt Duchene got the nod from the Preds and preceded to go down and sneak it five-hole on Copley, which would ultimately become the game-deciding goal.

Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson also tried to score, but to no avail. The Kings get the loss, but still retain a point for making it past regulation. This loss snapped their five-game winning streak and next up on the calendar is the New York Islanders who are coming to the Arena on Tuesday March 14, 2023 at 7:30 PM.

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