LOS ANGELES (AP) Jarome Iginla has spent the better part of two decades scoring clutch goals against the Western Conference’s best teams, including the Los Angeles Kings.
The 39-year-old scorer is finally on the Kings’ side, and they’ve discovered his shot is still as dangerous as ever.
Iginla scored with 1:26 left in overtime, and the Kings rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
In his third game with his new club, Iginla got his first two goals for the Kings, both on Los Angeles’ frequently struggling power play.
“It feels good, especially with a new team,” Iginla said. “To be with the guys and find some way to contribute, it’s exciting to be out there at the end in a key situation.”
The Kings acquired Iginla at the trade deadline for the playoff push, and the 20-year veteran capitalized on two big opportunities to push his low-scoring new club to another win.
“He’s a goal-scorer, and he has been for a long time,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “His first goal was a pretty easy one, but the second one was a great shot. He’s just had an unbelievable shot for so long, and he just puts pucks in the net that not many other guys can put in.”
Iginla’s first goal for the Kings was the 620th of his NHL career. He scored on a tap-in of Marian Gaborik‘s chance in the waning seconds of a power play in the second period.
After the Predators were whistled for too many men on the ice with 2:24 to play, Iginla skated in low and roofed a shot over Pekka Rinne, who made 31 saves. Just like that, Iginla had his first multi-goal game since February 2016 with Colorado.
“It’s fun, these games,” Iginla said. “There’s a lot on the line. It feels great to be back in these types of games.”
Gaborik also had the tying goal along with his assist in just his third multipoint game of the season, and Jonathan Quick made 21 saves.
Calle Jarnkrok and Kevin Fiala scored for Nashville, which has lost four straight. The Predators still took a point in each of their first two stops on a three-game California road trip despite giving up three power-play goals between Anaheim and Los Angeles.
“We are giving points away right now,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “The past couple games, we’re just making bad decisions on our part and giving points away.”
The Kings went 3 for 3 on the power play, scoring three times with the man advantage for only the second time all season.
Los Angeles has won three meetings with Nashville this season, but two Western Conference teams in desperate need of points both inched up the standings in this one.
Nashville has a precarious lead over St. Louis for third place in the Central Division, while the Kings are chasing the Blues for the second wild-card postseason spot.
Nashville took a first-period lead when Josi got the puck away from Gaborik. Jarnkrok eventually scored his 14th goal, the ninth since Jan. 1 for the two-way forward.
Fiala put the Predators back ahead when he pounced on a rebound of captain Mike Fisher‘s initial chance on a loose puck in the crease. The goal was the Swiss rookie’s first since Feb. 19 and just his third since Dec. 3.
Gaborik tied it again on the power play when Alec Martinez‘s shot hit him and he flipped it home for his eighth goal of the season.
“Well, again, it’s the power play,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We just have to do a better job on the penalty kill.”
NOTES: Nashville D Ryan Ellis was a late scratch after re-aggravating a lower-body injury that kept him out for the second time in three games. … Nashville LW Vernon Fiddler was a healthy scratch for the first time since returning to the Predators in early February in a trade with New Jersey. The veteran has one point in 14 games with Nashville. Colton Sissons played for the first time since Feb. 21, and Fiala also returned after being a healthy scratch in Anaheim.
Predators: At Sharks on Saturday.
Kings: Host Capitals on Saturday.