By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – On a day when both teams unveiled the jerseys they’ll wear in their outdoor game at Dodger Stadium, the Ducks and Kings displayed yet again why that January game should be yet another thriller between the two rivals.
And for two teams soon facing each other in a legendary baseball stadium, it was appropriate that their first of five meetings this season ended in nine innings – of an intense shootout in front of a standing-room only crowd at Honda Center.
After goalies Jonas Hiller and Martin Jones (making his NHL debut tonight) denied every shootout attempt through the first eight rounds, Dwight King wristed a shot past Hiller in the top of the ninth round to put the Kings ahead. Then Jones clinched his first career win by denying Mathieu Perreault on his backhand attempt. It was an appropriate ending for the rookie, who looked strong in saving 26 Anaheim shots tonight. Hiller was much busier, saving 49 of a whopping 51 Los Angeles shots.
"It’s tough to lose that way," Hiller said. "I don’t know if he missed a shot a little bit, but it kind of caught me right between the pad and my glove. It’s a tough one. All you can do as a goalie is make as many stops as you can, and hope the guys upfront score at some point."
The Ducks had a chance to win it with a 5 on 3 after two straight Kings penalties, the first near the end of the third and the second early in OT. Not only did Anaheim not threaten, but the two-man advantage was wiped out by a Dustin Penner interference call on Jarret Stoll on the blue line. The Kings ultimately went on the power play, but also couldn’t cash in, opening the door to the seemingly inevitable shootout. The Ducks had a number of chances to put it away in the tiebreaker, with the likes of Teemu Selanne and former King Penner having a chance to ice it, but nobody could beat a cool and calm Jones.
"You want to put teams behind you," said Ducks forward Nick Bonino, who was denied in the third round of the shootout. "Our division has five teams in the top-nine in the West. It’s a tough division to get out of. It’s a fun division to play in because of that. But games like these, tight games, we need to close out if we have a lead in the third, or if we have chances to win in a shootout."
Anaheim took a 2-1 lead 2:14 into the third period on the power play, when Penner tipped the puck toward the net in traffic, where Corey Perry pounced on it, and waited out Jones before flipping a backhand over him.
But the Kings tied it 3 1/2 minutes later when Dustin Brown wristed a shot from the slot that hit goalie Jonas Hiller in the chest and fluttered behind his back. It was one of the few smudges on Hiller's resume, as he was peppered all night long and more often than not came out of it unscathed.
After a scoreless first, LA got on the board 7:05 into the middle session after a Jeff Carter took advantage of a bad turnover by Ryan Getzlaf and fired it over Hiller’s shoulder.
But Getzlaf got redemption just 46 seconds later, when rookie Hampus Lindholm laced a shot off Jones and Getzlaf batted it in out of midair. It was the fifth straight game against LA in which Getzlaf scored a point and it stretched his current point streak against the NHL to 11 games.
"When you have the opportunity on your stick whether you deserve to win the game or not, you’ve got to put it away," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "That killer instinct has been eluding us for a little bit now. We’ve got to find it somewhere."
The Ducks and Kings play again on January 23 at Honda Center, two days before facing off in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium.
The Ducks are the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss at HOME, going 10-0-2 at Honda Center this season. It marks the third time since the implementation of the shootout (2005-06 season) that an NHL club has gone through its first 12 home games without a regulation defeat (also Chicago in 2012-13 (11-0-1) and San Jose in 2008-09 (20-0-2)).
Anaheim’s 41 points through 30 games this season (18-7-5) rank third in the NHL behind only Chicago (44) and San Jose (43).
The Freeway Faceoff will resume on Jan. 23 at Honda Center, two days before the two clubs meet again at Dodger Stadium for the much-anticipated 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series contest on Jan. 25. The final meeting of the 2013-14 regular season will take place at Staples Center on Mar. 15.
Ryan Getzlaf has picked up points in each of his last seven games at HOME (8-7=15 with a +7 rating, missed one contest due to injury). In addition, he has earned points in 10 of the 11 home contests in which he has appeared in all season (10-9=19). Getzlaf’s 14-18=32 points this season rank tied for third in the NHL (with NYI’s Tavares and CHI’s Kane). He is on pace for a 41-goal season, which would establish a new career high (currently 25). Getzlaf has also scored in five straight games vs. Los Angeles, notching 3-2=5 points since Mar. 16, 2012.
Dustin Penner has points in five straight games (5-2=7), his second such streak of the season. Penner’s 9-13=22 points through his 22 games this season are already the most he has scored since the 2010-11 season (23-22=45 points in 81 contests with Edmonton and Los Angeles).
Corey Perry has extended his point streak to five games, collecting 4-3=7 points in that span. His 16 goals this season rank tied for third in the NHL (with CHI’s Kane).
Jonas Hiller stopped a season high 49-of-51 shots (two short of his career high of 51 saves on Dec. 19, 2008 at Edmonton), the most saves and shots faced since Apr. 8, 2010 at Dallas (also 49-for-51). At HOME this season, Hiller has posted a 1.74 GAA and a .938 SV% (6-0-2, one ND).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,294, a sellout including standing-room only.
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