LOS ANGELES -- If the Kings are going to improve on their results from the last two seasons, they’ll need to bottle up more performances like Tuesday night.
The offense received production from a variety of sources, some whom were long overdue, and the defense was strongest at the most critical moments, adding up to a 4-3 victory against the Nashville Predators at Staples Center.
The result ended a five-game losing streak for the Kings and brought some comfort back to the locker room. The offense had managed no more than two regulation goals in 12 of the previous 14 games.
“It was an important win for us,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored his first goal of the season early in the first period to give the Kings a 2-0 lead. “We really had to come out of that losing skid.”
Dustin Penner, likely the biggest object of scorn from Kings fans who had watched him tally only one assist in 12 games coming in, contributed two assists for his first multi-point game as a member of the Kings. Penner was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles last February and hasn’t come close to earning the $4.25 million the Kings are paying him this season.
“It was great to get this one out of the way and break that mental block,” he said.
Alec Martinez also scored his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Justin Williams and blasting it past Nashville goalie Anders Lindback for a 1-0 lead on the first of six power plays for the Kings.
“I thought we came out and played a real good first period,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “I liked the energy, I liked the compete, the tempo and the attitude that we started the game with.”
Williams and Jarret Stoll also contributed two assists for the Kings. Stoll’s first assist on the goal by Martinez was the 300th point of his NHL career. He said the difference Tuesday night was all about effort.
“I think you saw more energy, more determination on the offensive side of the puck,” Stoll said.
The Kings won’t get much chance to savor the victory as the Canucks visit Staples Center on Thursday night. Vancouver, which reached the Stanley Cup finals last season, has been practicing in L.A. since Sunday.
The Kings could also be without third-line wing Scott Parse, who left the game because of a lower-body injury and Murray said the injury is “a little more than day-to-day.”