NASHVILLE — Roman Josi had a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 Thursday night to move atop the Central Division with their third win in four games.
The Predators now have 77 points to edge ahead of Winnipeg (76), though the Jets have three games in hand on Nashville.
Kyle Turris scored a goal for Nashville, which also swept the season series with Los Angeles.
Goalie Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for the win.
Michael Amadio scored a goal for the Kings, who now are 0-4-2 in losing their sixth straight.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette mixed up his top two lines a bit looking to spread out the offence. He moved Viktor Arvidsson, who has 21 points in his past 25 games since returning from a broken thumb, to the second line with Turris and Calle Jarnkrok while moving Kevin Fiala to the top line with Filip Forsberg and centre Ryan Johansen.
Turris scored the first goal, his first since returning from injury Feb. 7 and seventh of the season, on the power play where Nashville has struggled. His snap shot from the left circle beat Jonathan Quick at 8:50 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. Rinne kept the Kings scoreless 70 seconds later after a turnover behind the net, scrambling back to stop Trevor Lewis’ shot from the slot.
Josi put Nashville up 2-0 with his 14th goal this season within the first minute of the second. Arvidsson, who did not take part in the morning skate, sent a backhanded pass to Josi, who went top shelf with his wrister from the left circle.
Amadio pulled Los Angeles within 2-1 scoring off a rebound at 9:24 of the third, and the Kings got the man advantage 25 seconds later when Turris went to the box for hooking Ilya Kovalchuk. But the Predators killed the penalty, keeping the Kings 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Johansen hit the post with five minutes left , missing an insurance goal for Nashville that Rinne wound up not needing.
NOTES: Josi now has 21 points in his last 19 games for Nashville. He also became the first defenceman in franchise history with four seasons with at least 50 points. … Before the game, the Predators put forward Craig Smith on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled Taylor Gaudet from AHL Milwaukee. … Nashville improved to 27-3-1 when scoring first and 16-1-1 when leading after the first period.
Kings: Visit Florida on Saturday.
Predators: Host Colorado on Saturday.
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Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press