LONDON, England – The Ducks ensured they won’t leave London with a bitter taste in their mouths by bouncing back from the previous night’s defeat to take down the L.A. Kings 4-1 in the second game of NHL Premiere at The O2.
Corey Perry had goals in each of the first two periods and Swiss rookie Jonas Hiller had 22 saves in the first start of his NHL life to pace Anaheim.
"I'm really happy for the whole team," Hiller said about his first NHL win. "We proved we were able to come back after the game yesterday. I'm happy I could add do it. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid to play in the NHL and the dream came true today.
The Ducks were able to get off to a better start than the night before, taking advantage of a rash of Kings penalties and scoring two power play goals in the first period. They added two more even-strength markers in the second.
"We came out with a better level of intensity than we did last night," said Ducks captain Chris Pronger, referring to the 4-1 loss to the Kings the night before in the first game of the weekend. "We put in upon ourselves to get pucks deep and get on that forecheck we're known for."
Perry first put the Ducks ahead on a Ducks power play with 9:11 remaining in the opening stanza, taking an Andy McDonald pass in the slot and flicking past the left leg pad of Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera.
Less than five minutes later, Chris Kunitz also capitalized on a man advantage and gave the Ducks a two-goal version when he pounced on a loose puck that emerged from a pileup in front of the Kings net. He easily slid it into the wide open goal.
The second period was filled with plenty of action early as Perry and Travis Moen scored within 77 seconds of each other. Perry went first, after Kent Huskins’ slap shot from the point hit the back boards and came right to Perry. He took advantage of a huge gap on the left side of the net as LaBarbera was slow to get over.
Then Moen took a Rob Niedermayer pass in the slot and fired a wrister past LaBarbera’s glove.
The Kings got one back from Michael Cammalleri, his third goal of the weekend. Cammalleri took a shot from the low left corner that somehow got through Hiller on the near side.
The London crowd got more of what they wanted when Anaheim’s George Parros and L.A.’s Scott Thornton dropped the gloves midway through the second period. Both players feverishly threw punches before Parros got the takedown.
Neither team found the net in the third and final period of the London Premiere trip, which the Ducks came out of with a 1-1 record to start the defense of their Stanley Cup championship.
"Playing overseas is always fun, when you're playing in a different venue in a different city in front of different fans," Perry said. We'll take this week with us and remember it for a lifetime."
Anaheim flies back to the States tonight, where they play Detroit on Wednesday night.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks bounce back to earn a convincing 4-1 victory. That will help the plane ride out of here. Story to come.
18:41 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. tripping. During the delayed whistle, Hiller made another nice save.
16:37 - After a nice Hiller save on a Preissing shot, Sean O'Donnell and Kyle Calder get into it and O'Donnell give him a couple of gloved shots to the face.
14:53 - We're at the TV timeout and there is only 5:07 of hockey time left in London. I'm getting a little sad.
13:53 - The Kings have only 18 shots on goal so far. Nicely done by the Ducks D.
11:45 - Travis Moen took a rebound, turned around and fired it off the left post. Looked like a certain goal.
4:05 - ANA and LA Penalties - ANA Sean O'Donnell and LA John Zeiler, 2 min. each roughing. O'Donnell and Zeiler get into it with behind the Ducks goal. Mostly a lot of pushing and jersey grabbing. Didn't seem all that rough, but they take the penalties.
0:57 - Jonas Hiller does a great job to deny Dustin Brown, who took a least three whacks at the puck, only to be stopped each time.
0:00 - We're back to it in the third and hopefully last period of the London trip.
During the intermission they have a puck-shooting contest and the first contestant is introduced as "Dude". They said he was from here, too.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks scored twice and give one back to the Kings to take a 4-1 lead. Shots were 10-9 in favor of Anaheim that period. Ducks still looking solid in what was probably the best period of the weekend - three goals and a nice fight.
19:42 - Cammalleri takes another hard wrist shot that Hiller does a nice job to save and hold right around the mask area.
17:04 - ANA Penalty - Shane Hnidy, 2 min. delay of game. Hnidy flings it over the glass for the second straight night. Is the glass shorter in this arena? By the way, first penalty of this period aside from the fight, which everyone was happy about. There were six in the first period.
15:37 - We're at the TV timeout and they're showing shots of the crowd to the tune of "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot. Haven't heard that one in awhile, and I'm okay with that. Not much to the last five minutes lots of skating and skating and skating.
During the timeout they do the Kiss Cam. I wonder if most Brits have even seen that before. They catch a guy right as he's putting a bite of hot dog in his mouth. He kisses his woman anyway. I'm sure she was thrilled.
10:13 - ANA and LA Penalties - ANA George Parros and LA Scott Thornton, 5 min. each fighting. Parros and Scott Thornton drop the gloves around the blueline and the crowd responds like they've been waiting for it for two days. Both players feverishly throw punches and Parros gets the takedown. Decent hockey fight, mate.
8:57 - LA GOAL - MICHAEL CAMMALLERI - Cammalleri receives the puck from Derek Armstrong in the low right corner, skates toward the slot a bit and flings a wrist shot that somehow gets through Hiller on the near side. Huge goal for the Kings if they want to get back into this thing.
8:40 - Hiller makes a heck of a save on a Kyle Calder shot.
During the intermission, they have a trivia contest in which one fan has to answer where the Stanley Cup was originated. Was it Toronto, Montreal or London? Based on the cheers that went up when they announced London as one of the choices, it was a no-brainer. And he got it!
4:10 - ANA GOAL - TRAVIS MOEN - Rob Niedermayer gets to the puck in the right corner and gives it off to a streaking Moen in the slot. Moen's wrister zings past LaBarbera's glove. Second assist to Todd Marchant, who is skating on that checking line in place of Pahlsson. It's 4-0 and this is becoming a laugher.
2:53 - ANA GOAL - COREY PERRY - Kent Huskins takes a slap shot that flies past the cage and hits the boards, right to the stick of Perry, who deposits it in the wide-open left side of the net. LaBarbera moved very slowly getting over there. He looked like an 85-year-old man getting up from his easy chair. It's the second goal of the game for Perry, tying his career high. He's on pace for 82 goals this season. Second assist to Joe DiPenta.
0:00 - And we're back. Ducks still have a 2-0 lead. That didn't change during the intermission.
During the intermission they did a goofy thing on the video board, listing the top 10 British Imports to the tune of the "Benny Hill" them song. No. 1 was The Mini Skirt. I didn't know that was a British thing. Thanks for that, guys.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Several Kings and Ducks get into a bit in front of the Ducks bench after the horn. The Ducks dominate that period, outshooting the Kings 9-6 and outgoaling them 2-0. We'll be big.
By the way, along with the Bertuzzi-McDonald-Ryan line, the Ducks are sending out a second line of Perry-Getzlaf-Kunitz.
18:14 - Hiller does a nice job to cover a loose puck off the right post. Sean O'Donnell thought Handzus was getting a little close to his goaltender, so they pushed and shoved a bit.
17:28 - Alexander Frolov tries a one-timer from the right circle and Hiller slides over to make a nice save. It's his fourth career save in the NHL. Hears to many more.
15:19 - ANA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - CHRIS KUNITZ - Kunitz passes to the slot from the low right corner and the puck bounces back and forth in a crowd of Ducks and Kings right in front of the net. Suddenly, it pops out to Kunitz who easily slid it into a wide open net. First goal for Kunitz as an alternate captain. It's 2-0 Ducks. Assists go to Andy McDonald and Corey Perry, who each were able to put a stick on the puck in traffic.
14:56 - LA Penalty - Brady Murray, 2 min. holding the stick. Murray grabs Parros' stick, so after earning a penalty, Georgie makes up for it by drawing one.
I just told the Kings web guy that the Ducks are going to win this game and he disagreed, saying how improved the Kings are. I said, "Dude, we're the Stanley Cup champs." He looked out on the ice and said, "These guys aren't the Stanley Cup champs." No Niedermayer, no Selanne, no Giguere, no Pahlsson. He's got a point.
14:39 - We're at the TV timeout and the Ducks are outshooting the bad guys, 7-3, and look much sharper than yesterday.
We were just handed a note that Jonas Hiller is just the fourth goatlender born in Switzerland to play in an NHL game. The others are David Aebischer of Colorado, Martin Gerber of the old Mighty Ducks and Pauli Jaks of the Kings. Interesting.
12:23 - ANA Penalty - George Parros, 2 min. goaltender interference. Parros ran into LaBarbara. That's already the fourth penalty today and we had 18 combined yesterday. It's going to be tough to sell this game over here if this keeps up. It's not making for great theatre.
For the second straight night, I've noticed that the crowd isn't quite as loud as it is in the States. When the Ducks scored that goal, the roar didn't t have the same oomph as it normally does. There's also a slightly deeper pitch to it. Not sure why. I guess it's because they're not all Ducks fans here.
10:49 - ANA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - COREY PERRY - Andy McDonald gives Perry a great pass in the slot, and Perry gathers it, skates to his right and flicks it past the outstretched LaBarbera's left leg pad. It's 1-0 Ducks. I've got a good feeling about this one.
10:17 - LA Penalty - John Zeiler, 2 min. high sticking.
8:39 - LA Penalty - Ladislav Nagy, 2 min. high sticking. Late call in the L.A. zone, since the Kings were already headed on a breakaway in the other direction. Ducks go on the power play and get their first big opportunity to go on top.
7:01 - LA Penalty - Lubomir Visnovsky, 2 min. holding. And that knocks out the L.A. power play. We'll go 4 on 4.
6:45 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. high sticking. Bertuzzi is not happy at all. He can be seen on the video board shouting at the linesman.
2:04 - Ryan Carter has already taken a run at two Kings players. He's getting physical already.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 2 of this doubleheader.
Much-improved pregame entertainment now that the Ducks are the home team. Maybe I'm biased. We had the same little girl singing the anthem. She's still struggling with that "ramparts" part.
You can see below that the Ducks are going with Hiller tonight, partly because of the back-to-back games. It's Hiller's first NHL start. Meanwhile, Jason LaBarbera is in net for L.A. and he's got a 1.26 GAA against the Ducks in two games.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jonas Hiller; LA Jason LaBarbera
Starting Skaters: ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Hnidy, Andy McDonald, Francois Beauchemin, Bobby Ryan; LA Rob Blake, Kyle Calder, Alexander Frolov, Michael Handzus, Tom Preissing