For two periods it was difficult for either team just to get a shot on net.
Then for a time in the third it seemed as if every Los Angeles Kings shot ended up in the Nashville Predators net.
Jeff Carter got the Kings on the board in the second period when he scored with a pass. He then touched off a four-goal outburst with two more goals 19 seconds apart in the third.
The result was a 5-1 defeat Monday at Staples Center that left the Predators with nothing to show for a three-game swing through California that began last Wednesday. The Predators failed to earn a point and were outscored 12-3 in those contests.
Nashville allowed the reigning Stanley Cup champions just three shots in each of the first two periods but trailed 1-0. Los Angeles yielded just 13 to the visitors over the same span.
The final count was 19-16 in the Predators’ favor and was the lowest combined total in a Nashville game this season.
Carter got the Kings on the board when his pass through the slot to Mike Richards deflected in off the skate of goalie Pekka Rinne.
He then became the first player ever with multiple hat tricks against the Predators when he pushed the margin to 3-0 within the first five minutes of the third. He capped his fifth career hat trick — his second against Nashville — when he stole the puck from defenseman Roman Josi and scored unassisted.
Carter also had three goals as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-5 Predators’ victory Dec. 22, 2011, at Bridgestone Arena.
Rinne was pulled after the deficit grew to 5-0 at 10:54 of the third period. He allowed four goals on seven shots in the third period, five on 13 overall.
Gabriel Bourque finally got Nashville on the board and became the team’s leader in goals when he got his sixth of the season with 6:55 to play. The second-year left wing also had the only goal in Saturday’s loss at San Jose.
The trip started with a 5-1 loss at Anaheim, which included a hat trick by Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri.
Thus, the Predators happily return for home games Friday against Edmonton and Saturday against Minnesota.