By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – While a Ducks-Kings battle is a typically tense and thrilling affair, this one has to go down as one of the better ones in the rivalry’s recent history.
In an edgy and scoring-heavy tangle at Honda Center, the Ducks were the last ones standing in a 7-4 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champs in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 17,436. The 11 goals marked the highest-scoring game between the two teams in their 109-game series history.
Nick Bonino had the first hat trick of his career (heck, the first multi-goal game), including a huge insurance goal midway through the third period to pace the Ducks. "It feels good," Bonino said. "I can’t really describe it. I haven’t scored a ton of goals in my career so far, so it feels real good to get three here. It’s really all I can say."
But in a back-and-forth game where scoring came early and often, Anaheim didn’t seal the deal until Teemu Selanne filled an empty net from near the red line on the right wing to give the Ducks a three-goal cushion that stood until the final horn.
The intense rivalry was once again made even more so by a mixture of fans from both sides in the crowd. "When the crowd hates each other as much as that, and it gets that loud, that’s what this sport is all about," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "I thought it was cool."
The home fans had reason to scream early when Bonino scored twice in the first six minutes to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead that chased Kings starter Jonathan Quick and gave way to a wild first period.
Bonino got his first of the season 2 1/2 minutes in, making a beautiful deke to undress LA defenseman Jake Muzzin and then lunging to backhand it by Quick.
About three minutes later, Bonino emerged from behind the net with Drew Doughty on his tail, and fell to the ice as he sent a puck on net that somehow slipped under Quick.
The Kings immediately pulled Quick for Jonathan Bernier, and the Kings responded by tying the game in swift fashion. A Sheldon Souray penalty led to a Dustin Brown power-play strike at 9:15, as Anze Kopitar fed Brown with a nice cross-ice pass for the goal.
Just 44 seconds later, and a few seconds after Jonas Hiller made a big save on the doorstep, Jarret Stoll got off a shot from the right circle while falling to the ice, somehow sneaking it past the Ducks netminder.
Anaheim ultimately retook the lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the stanza, as Corey Perry spun and delivered a backhand pass to an unchecked Ryan Getzalf, who chipped it under the crossbar.
"Resiliency. I think that’s kind of been one of our mottos," Bonino said. "If they strike, we strike right back. We were never down on the bench, we were never down in the locker room. We were always confident and just came out and played hard."
While the Ducks ended the period with the lead, they went into the break under some duress, as a Francois Beauchemin holding penalty, followed by a Bryan Allen roughing minor after the horn, put Anaheim down two men to start the second.
The Ducks got Beauchemin back, but the Kings capitalized while still up a man, as Hiller made a kick save on a Doughty point shot, but couldn’t keep Brown from wrapping in the rebound.
That kicked off a second stanza that was just as thrilling as the first, as the Ducks and Kings traded goals on their way to a 5-4 Anaheim lead.
Brown’s power-play strike was countered by one from Sheldon Souray, who blasted a slap shot from the high slot that got under Bernier’s right armpit.
Justin Williams tied it up again with 5:48 left in the period, putting a seemingly benign backhand on net that flipped over Hiller’s shoulder and off his back.
But the Ducks were able to take a one-goal lead into the third thanks to a Kyle Palmieri power-play goal two minutes later, as Koivu made a nice touch-pass to Palmieri, who slung it through from the slot. It was the third goal in two games for Palmieri, who had two last night on his 22nd birthday.
But instead of letting the Kings back in it again, the Ducks defense (with help from Hiller) held its ground and got those big goals at the other end from Bonino and Selanne.
"It was a really emotional game for us and a huge rivalry," Palmieri said. "At the same time, that emotion…it drives you through those back-to-back nights and we came alive in the third period, protected a lead, and stayed right on top of them. We knew they were going to have a push at the end there, and we were able to keep at it and keep the pressure going on them."
Cam Fowler left the game in the second period after being run into the boards by Jarret Stoll and did not return with what was announced as an upper-body injury. His status beyond tonight remains unknown.
"He obviously is not feeling very well right now," Boudreau said. "We haven’t determined exactly what it is. If you saw the replay, Stoll hit him pretty good from behind. I can understand why the refs didn’t call it…the one was getting taken out, there was another fight going on, but surely, I saw the numbers when Stoll hit him. They have to have a look at that. He might be OK tomorrow or he might be out for a while. I don’t know."
Anaheim's 5-1-1 start is its best since the 2006-07 season, the year the Ducks won California's first Cup, matched by LA last season. The Ducks will look to make it three in a row back at Honda Center on Monday night against the Sharks, who beat Anaheim in a shootout last Tuesday night in San Jose.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks win it!
17:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - TEEMU SELANNE - After the puck pinballs around the Anaheim zone, Selanne ends up with it on his stick at the right wing, and he throws it into the empty net from near the red line. Ducks take a 7-4 lead.
17:40 - Bernier to the bench as the Kings have it in the Anaheim end.
16:54 - Hiller with a big stop on a Scuderi one-timer, then covers it in traffic to get a long-awaited stoppage. It's 6-4 Ducks with 3:06 left.
14:20 - Seconds after delivering a big hit, the previously struggling Allen does a nice job to bat a dangerous puck out of the air in front of the Anaheim net.
12:40 - Selanne with a backhand just as the power play expires, and it's off the crossbar. Just like that shootout try in San Jose.
12:29 - Ryan's pass as the power play nears its end hits Drewiske in the face and he heads off bleeding.
10:37 - LAK Penalty - Dustin Penner, 2 min. tripping. Penner takes down Bobbo.
8:39 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NICK BONINO - NICK BONINO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? Just as the power play is winding down, the Ducks get one last shot at it. Sbisa feeds into the low slot to Ryan, who finds Bonino. His first shot hits Bernier and comes right back to Bonino, who pushes it through for the hat trick and, more importantly, the two-goal Ducks lead. Hats all over the ice as we'll have a bit of a delay here and Bonino can revel in this
6:50 - LAK Penalty - Anze Kopitar, 2 min. holding. Kopitar latches onto Souray near the wall. Potentially big power play for Anaheim.
4:30 - Hiller gives up a fat rebound, but recovers with a nice kick save on Brown.
Sellout crowd of 17,436 just announced. Wondering if they thought they got their money's worth.
Fowler announced as doubtful to return with an "upper body injury."
0:00 - Off and running in what I'm guessing will be a decent third period. No Fowler still for the Ducks. No official word on his condition yet.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The second is pretty much as crazy as the first, as both teams find the net twice and it's 5-4 Ducks going to the third (final?) period.
16:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - KYLE PALMIERI - Ducks cycle it on the power play, as Koivu (from the right circle) makes a nice touch pass to Palmieri in the slot, and the kid goes to one knee to sling it through. Ducks up 5-4.
14:39 - LAK Penalty - Jordan Nolan, 2 min. holding. Nolan hangs onto Winnik near the wall.
14:12 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - Williams puts a seemingly innocent backhand on net from outside the right post, and it flips up and over Hiller's shoulder, helped into the net by his back. Ugly goal, but they all count the same, and we're tied again.
12:53 - Ducks get on the rush just as the power play ends, as Koivu comes out of the box to feed an open Allen. He fires wide on the far side. Close.
12:10 - Hiller standing his ground on a couple Kings chances around the net.
10:40 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. high sticking. Koivu, not normally the combative type, gets into it with Clifford away from the puck.
9:35 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SHELDON SOURAY - Souray shows off that cannon by winding and firing from the high slot, sending it under Bernier's right armpit and into the net. Ducks retake the lead.
8:31 - LAK Penalty - Anze Kopitar, 2 min. tripping. Kopitar sends Palmieri sprawling behind the LA net. First Anaheim power play of the night.
We'll try to keep you updated on Fowler with fingers crossed.
4:43 - Koivu runs hard into Bernier after he makes a glove save on a Winnik shot, sparking a mini brawl that dissipates with no penalties.
3:29 - Things get roudy away from the puck as Allen and Nolan start whaling away at each other for a lengthy period of time, even delivering a few blows while down on the ice. Meanwhile, on the puck, Stoll grabs the back of Fowler's jersey and throws him face first into the boards. Fowler has to be helped off the ice. Doesn't look great. No penalty on Stoll.
1:15 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - The Allen penalty comes back to haunt the Ducks, as Hiller makes a kick save on a point shot by Doughty, but can't stop Brown from wrapping the rebound past him. We're tied again.
0:45 - Lydman with a big clear to buy Anaheim some time as Beauchemin races back onto the ice.
0:00 - Ducks defending a 5 on 3 as we start the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks come out of a wild first period with a 3-2 lead, but it's tenuous.
20:00 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. roughing. Allen objects to a late collision with Doughty and delivers a shove after the horn. Kings will have a two-man advantage to start the third.
18:50 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. interference. Beauch pushes Drewiske into the wall after Drewiske dumped the puck.
18:15 - Hiller with a nice pad save, and the loose rebound is swept away by Koivu. Yes, there is some defense being played in this first period.
15:55 - Bonino nearly gets his third (not kidding), with a tip redirect try with his back to the net, and a follow-up that gets deflected over the glass.
13:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Give credit to longtime linemate Perry on this one, as he skates behind the net with Martinez on his rear, then spins and delivers a gorgeous backhand pass that an unchecked Getzlaf chips under the crossbar. It's 3-2 Ducks. Wow.
13:15 - Selanne, not pleased with that earlier hit, puts Doughty into the wall.
10:00 - Things get even more intense as Doughty puts a hard hit on Selanne in the LA end.
9:49 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - JARRET STOLL - Seconds after Hiller makes a big stop on the doorstep, Stoll fires from the top of the right circle while falling to the ice, slipping it past the surprised Ducks netminder. We're tied. Intense first 10 minutes here.
9:15 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DUSTIN BROWN - Bad clear attempt by Beauchemin keeps the puck int he zone and the Kings capitalize. Kopitar makes a pretty feed from the right wing circle across the ice to Brown, who slings it into the open left half. It's 2-1 Ducks.
9:23 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Souray, 2 min. holding. Souray takes down big Penner behind the Anaheim net. No small feat.
5:49 - Quick out. Bernier in the Kings net. Didn't see that coming.
5:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NICK BONINO - NICK. FREAKING. BONINO! He gets his second of the night as he comes from behind the net while dogged by Doughty, and falls to the ice as he sends it on net, somehow sneaking it under a surprised Quick. It's 2-0 as Bonino goes wild along with the home fans. First career multi-goal game for the kid.
4:10 - Williams with a Bonino-like move to the net, but he runs into Hiller, who deflects it away.
2:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NICK BONINO - Bonino emerges from the left wing circle, completely undresses Muzzin with a deke to the backhand, then lunges ahead to send it past an out-of-position Quick. It's the first of the year for Bonino and it's a huge one. It's 1-0.
1:50 - Ice tilted the Kings' way early.
0:20 - Battling "Go [Team Name] Go!" chants right off the opening draw.
7:08 p.m. - This place is charged up already, as is anthem singer Dawn Wright, who puts some oomph and a fist pump into those last final notes.
Hiller back in there (as expected), Vatanen and Rakell are scratched, Lydman back in there. Penner in for the Kings after getting scratched four of LA's first six games.