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Saros, Predators clamp down on Kings for crucial 4-1 win

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colton Sissons had a goal and two assists and Juuse Saros made 27 saves, helping the Nashville Predators beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Thursday night.

Nashville has won three in a row for the first time since a four-game streak Dec. 10-16. Jeremy Lauzon had a goal and an assist for the Predators, and Mark Jankowski and Yakov Trenin also scored.

“Just committed efforts up and down the lineup,” Sissons said. “We’re rolling everybody. Everybody’s having a positive impact. Hopefully we can keep this momentum.”

Kevin Fiala scored for the Kings, who had won four in a row. David Rittich made 17 stops in the team's second loss in seven games under interim coach Jim Hiller.

“There wasn't much time out there, and we didn't do the right things against that type of team,” Fiala said. “We just have to adjust a little better.”

Jankowski lifted Nashville to a 2-1 lead with 5:14 left in the second period, tapping home his second goal of the season after Rittich lost sight of Luke Evangelista’s low-angle shot at his feet.

“It was just throw the puck at the net and win a battle at the net, so it was that type of game,” Hiller said.

Sissons added an empty-netter with 3 minutes to play and Lauzon got another with 53 seconds to go, ensuring the Predators picked up two more crucial points in their push for a Western Conference wild card.

“This was one of those games where we knew it was going to be hard,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said. “It was gonna be a game of the little margins, and we've lost the little margin battle over the course of the season. I think we're growing, we're learning, and tonight we won that battle just enough to win the game.”

The upturn in form came with another strong performance from Saros, who had gone 19 starts since stringing together consecutive wins against St. Louis on Saturday and Los Angeles. He came up with 14 saves in the third period as the Kings made a strong but unsuccessful late charge.

“He’s been playing really well lately and got some confidence, got some of his swagger back,” Sissons said.

The Kings had movement in and out of their forward lines, with center Blake Lizotte returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for 14 games and forward Viktor Arvidsson out because of a lower-body injury after he got hurt during a win against Columbus on Tuesday.

Arvidsson was placed on injured reserve, but Hiller did not have an update on how long he might be out. Arvidsson, who missed the first 50 games of the season because of a back injury, had two assists in four games before he was sidelined again.

The Kings took another blow when top pairing defenseman Mikey Anderson missed the final 14 minutes of the game because of an undisclosed injury, with Hiller saying he did not know how serious it might be.

“Right now I’m looking at the loss, and it’s a tough loss,” said Fiala, who scored on a 5-on-3 power play for his 400th career point. “Not a good night for us.”

UP NEXT

Predators: At San Jose on Saturday night.

Kings: Host Anaheim on Saturday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

Dan Greenspan, The Associated Press