Previous Game: Ducks Clinch West's Best Record, Down Kings in Shootout

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 9:00 AM PT / News
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Previous Game: Ducks Clinch West\'s Best Record, Down Kings in Shootout
LOS ANGELES \u2013 The Ducks clinched the all-important best record in the Western Conference once they went to OT with the Kings in LA, and downing their rivals in the shootout was icing on the cake.
LOS ANGELES – The Ducks clinched the all-important best record in the Western Conference once they went to OT with the Kings in LA, and downing their rivals in the shootout was icing on the cake.

After seven shooters were all stymied in the shootout, Ducks winger Devante Smith-Pelly buried the game winner in the bottom of the fourth round to give the Ducks a satisfying 4-3 victory over Los Angeles at Staples Center. It was the capper of a great night for Smith-Pelly, who scored a big goal for Anaheim in the second period.

"They all knew they just needed a point," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "We never talked about it, but you could tell after the game was over, they all knew. Some of them were high-fiving each other. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for them. Then, we said, 'Let’s go win it in a shootout.'"

It was the fourth win in five meetings with the Kings this season, including four in a row after losing in a shootout in their first matchup. "You never want a team to think they can beat you, and this year we’ve been able to handle them," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "We’ve had years in the past where it was tough to beat them. It’s good to have that last win against them going into the playoffs, in case we have to face them."

The Ducks had reason to celebrate once this game went to OT, however, as the standings point they earned gave them the best record in the Western Conference and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs, where they will open against Dallas. It’s the first time in the 20-year history of the franchise they have earned the top spot in the West.

"Anytime you have an opportunity to close someone out and solidify your spot, that’s what you want to do," Getzlaf said. "Our team showed that tonight, that we were able to go out and grasp that opportunity. That’s good visual and mental help for us."

The Ducks took a 3-2 lead with 4:47 left in the third on a beautiful play by Matt Beleskey, who headed down right wing on the rush and faked a pass before unleashing a wicked wrister over the glove of a fooled Jonathan Quick.

But the Kings came right back a minute and a half later when Anze Kopitar slid into the slot and slung a shot past Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen to make it 3-3. That was the last of the scoring in regulation and five minutes of overtime, though both teams had chances to end it in OT with both goalies standing tall to extend the game. They would each do the same in the shootout (the rookie Andersen's first as an NHLer) until Smith-Pelly, a surprising fourth choice for coach Bruce Boudreau, converted his attempt.

Andersen, who hadn't played since taking a slap shot off the mask eight days ago against Nashville, had 27 saves in his return. "He’s always bounced back," Boudreau said. "He just bears down when he needs to be, and the shootout was an example. He did a great job. After having the time off that he did, it was important that he come in and play a real good game."

LA had earlier tied it up 2-2 just 48 seconds into the third when Kopitar pounced on a puck behind the Anaheim net and stuffed in a wraparound.

The Kings got on the board first in this one, at 4:43 of the first period, as Ducks rookie Hampus Lindholm was caught out of position during a battle for the puck, allowing Dustin Brown room for a breakaway. Brown buried a wrist shot for his 15th of the season.

The Ducks evened it up a minute and a half later on one of their most incredible goals of the season, as Nick Bonino fell to his knees just right of the Kings net and still managed to backhand the puck past Quick.

Anaheim made it 2-1 a couple minutes into the second period, as Lindholm’s shot from the left wing circle was redirected off the skate of Smith-Pelly for his second goal of the year. But it was hardly his biggest, as he slammed the door on the shootout (on his first career NHL attempt) with a shoulder fake and a nifty forehand that beat Quick on the glove side.

The Ducks will close out the regular season tomorrow night vs. Colorado at home, a game that now has no bearing on their postseason positioning. It will, however, be Teemu Selanne’s last regular season game, and it promises to be an emotional night at Honda Center.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 73 24 44 14 68
C. Perry 61 32 20 16 52
R. Kesler 76 19 27 -5 46
S. Vatanen 61 12 25 7 37
J. Silfverberg 75 12 23 11 35
P. Maroon 67 9 24 -4 33
C. Fowler 74 7 26 3 33
H. Lindholm 73 7 26 22 33
J. Wisniewski 64 8 24 -14 32
M. Beleskey 62 22 9 14 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 32 11 5 .913 2.41
J. Gibson 12 7 0 .914 2.65

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