By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – In a game rendered relatively insignificant by the events of last night, the Ducks still overcame some sloppy play to edge the rival Kings 4-3 in an afternoon bout at Staples Center.
|Selanne netted two goals, including the game-winner in the third period.
Teemu Selanne had two goals in the game, including the game-winner that broke a 3-3 tie in the third period, to push the Ducks to their fourth win in the last five games. Rarely used defenseman Joe DiPenta also had a rare goal to start the scoring for the Ducks in the first period.
Anaheim had already clinched home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Dallas fell 4-2 at home against Phoenix last night. And the result of today’s game (nor tomorrow’s regular season finale against Phoenix) had no effect on Anaheim’s postseason position. Meanwhile, the Kings have played the last half of the season mired in last place in the Western Conference, and today’s game closed out their frustrating season in front of a sellout crowd on Fan Appreciation Day at Staples Center.
Regardless, a Ducks-Kings tilt still packs some punch, and prior to the contest Anaheim was awarded its $50,000 check for Ducks Care for winning the inaugural Freeway Face-Off rivalry series. Anaheim clinched it with a 2-1 shootout victory on March 26 at Honda Center.
Today's victory came courtesy of Selanne scoring the only goal of the final period to give the Ducks the lead for good with 13:32 left in the game. Selanne looked like he was trying to give up the puck while skating toward the left faceoff dot, but when no King came to challenge him, he wristed a shot that soared past ineffective Kings goalie Dan Cloutier. It was the second of the game for Selanne and 12th since he re-joined the Ducks lineup on Feb. 5.
Despite several opportunities in the final minutes for the Kings (including the last minute with Cloutier headed to the bench for an extra attacker), the Ducks were able to hang on as goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere added to his 28 saves.
"They wanted to win the last game of the season in front of their fans," said Giguere. "But for us these are hard games to play because they have no meaning. The key is to not get into any bad habits."
The Ducks reached 100 standings points for the second straight year.
The Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the first on two goals with under a minute left that came within eight seconds of each other, tying a franchise record. The first came from a highly unlikely source as DiPenta, playing his first game since Feb. 2 (and only his third since Dec. 14), snapped off a shot from the point that deflected past Cloutier. It was the first goal for DiPenta since March 7 of last year.
Right after the ensuing faceoff, Selanne swiped the puck from the Kings’ Jon Klemm, then made a nifty move to the slot that sent d-man Rob Blake tumbling to the ice. Selanne finished it off by sending a backhand past a lunging Cloutier.
|Getzlaf's breakaway goal was part of a three-goal outburst by both teams in just over two minutes in the second period.
The goals wiped out a 1-0 lead the Kings took with 7:36 left in the period, as a seemingly innocent Dustin Brown shot from the left circle traveled through screens from both Anze Kopitar and Anaheim’s Brian Sutherby to get past Giguere.
After the game ends, the Kings give away their jerseys to lucky fans who were selected in a drawing. Captain Rob Blake gets on the mic and thanks the fans, acknowledging that it's been a tough season and reassuring them that "The future looks bright for this organization." He resists the urge to add, "Too bad I won't be a part of that."
The middle session was marked by an offensive flurry in which three goals were scored within 2 minutes, five seconds. Los Angeles struck first 2:21 into it, as a Tom Preissing point shot kicked off Giguere to a wide-open Brian Willsie, who promptly deposited the rebound.
Ryan Getzlaf got it back 1:05 later, taking the puck from Bobby Ryan on a breakaway and making a nice move to his backhand before roofing it over Cloutier.
Exactly a minute after that puck hit the net, Patrick O’Sullivan skated out from the corner and whipped a shot from the right circle that darted through a screened Giguere.
But that was the last of the scoring for the Kings, who took their 42nd loss on the season and for the moment held onto a tie for the worst record in the NHL (with Tampa Bay).
Meanwhile, the Ducks have tomorrow’s game at Honda Center with Phoenix to play before beginning the first round of the playoffs in Anaheim against all-but-official opponent Dallas.
Doug Weight, a healthy scratch last game for Anaheim (Sunday’s shootout win over Dallas) was in the starting lineup this afternoon. Center Ryan Carter, who was a possibility to return from a wrist injury that has kept him out since Feb. 20, did not suit up.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks get one from Selanne in the third to take the lead, then hang on in the final minutes to tkae it, 4-3. The Ducks and Kings shake hands near center ice, as it's the last game of the year for Los Angeles.
19:55 - Pahlsson flips it out of the zone and watches the clock tick down.
19:35 - O'Sullivan looks to have a good chance, and his open shot from the slot is saved and frozen by Giguere.
19:29 - Sammy ices it.
19:12 - Rob Empty Nettermeyer sends the puck out of the zone and sloooowwwwwlllly toward the Kings net, and it just misses wide for icing.
18:59 - Kings take timeout. I'm almost surprised they pulled Cloutier. Don't they have a draft position to think about?
18:50 - Cloutier heads to the bench. Ducks could be in trouble, as Moen gives his stick to Beauchemin, who lost his.
18:10 - Armstrong looks to have a shot at a rebound, but misses wide.
17:45 - Frolov turns a slaps a shot that Giguere saves easily.
17:06 - The TV shows Marc Crawford on the Kings bench. Last game as a King?
The P.A. guy announces that the Ducks and Kings would like to thank referee Mick McGeough (crowd boos), who is refereeing his final NHL game at Staples Center and will retire after this season (crowd cheers). Hilarious.
14:18 - LAK Penalty - Matt Ellis, 2 min. hooking. Let's see if the boys in black can put this bad boy away.
13:56 - Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer do some pushing and showing with some Kings players, after Niedermayer is shoved out of nowhere by a King. But it doesn't escalate into much more than that.
6:28 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - Selanne takes a pass from Todd Bertuzzi and glides toward the left faceoff dot looking to pass the puck. When no one comes to challenge him, he wrists a shot that whizzes by Cloutier netbound. It's the second of the game for Selanne. I'm telling you right now, Dan Cloutier is not a good goalie. Although to be fair, aside from his inability to stop pucks, he's fine. It's 4-3 Ducks.
6:15 - Bertuzzi gets the puck on the run in the slot on a nice headman feed from Getzlaf, but his shot from straightaway is stopped by Cloutier.
4:37 - Selanne rockets a slap shot from the wing that Cloutier is just able to knock away with the blocker.
3:25 - Huskins nearly deflects the puck in his own net, but then in a battle with Thornton, he knocks it away.
0:59 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. tripping.
0:00 - Here we go in the third. Can't we just skip this and go to a shootout?
Beautiful moment during the intermission, as they're giving a truck away for Fan Apprecation Day. All five contestants tried their keys in the ignition of the truck and NONE OF THEM WORKED. So, the P.A. announcer sheepishly announces they have to take the truck off the ice and try it again later. Wow. Poor KIngs. Can't figure out why they're in last place.
Just got this email from reader Will: "My friend, Denise, is at the game with a busload of Ducks fans. She just sent me a text message saying that when the Queens fans start their "Ducks suck!" chant, the Ducks fans quickly turn it into a "Stanley Cup!" chant." Good to know.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Three goals within 2:05 leave us with a 3-3 tie through two periods.
19:00 - The P.A. guy announces there is one minute left in the period and that means, "This is the McSorely minute." What does that mean, somebody is going to swing a stick at the back of somebody's head?
17:55 - Brown gives Kopitar a nice feed on the rush, but Kopitar whiffs on the one-timer.
17:25 - Giguere does a nice job to glove a Kevin Dallman shot from the point.
14:30 - Bertuzzi whips a pretty spinning, backhand pass to Kunitz in the slot, but Kuni's shot flies wide.
12:17 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. holding. And those damn chimes come on over the P.A. system. I hate those.
11:12 - Scott Thornton takes the puck from the Ducks and fires a shot from the high slot that Giguere kicks away, then punches away the bouncing disc.
Just got an email from a reader named Erin asking me to "Please tell the Kings announcers to shut up." Erin is kind of overestimating my power up here. I forgot that's one of the unfortunate things for Ducks fans watching the game on TV when the Ducks play up here. They have to listen to Bob Miller and Jim Fox. Brutal. Try turning down the TV and turning on the radio to AM 830.
During the break, the video board shows a guy clad in "Duck hunting" gear holding a DUX SUCK license plate. How original, dude. Is it possible to fit COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT THE KINGS on a license plate?
7:48 - Cloutier makes two straight saves on solid Ducks shots. Impressive.
4:26 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - PATRICK O'SULLIVAN - O'Sullivan skates out from the corner and unleashes a shot from the right circle that slides through a screened Giguere. That's three goals in a span of 2:05. I thought this thing felt like an exhibition game before, now it REALLY does. It's 3-3.
3:26 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf gets the puck from Bobby Ryan ahead of everybody and makes a move to his backhand that he roofs past a lunging Cloutier. Pretty move by Getzlaf for his 24th goal and the Ducks retake the lead, 3-2.
2:21 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - BRIAN WILLSIE - Tom Preissing takes a shot from the right point that bounces off Giguere and there is no one within a country mile of Willsie, who punches the rebound past Giguere. We're tied 2-2.
0:00 - We're underway in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get two quick ones to turn the game around and take a 2-1 lead.
19:18 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - Right off the draw after the Ducks goal, Selanne swipes the puck away from Klemm, heads down the right wing and makes a ridiculous move toward the slot, breaking Rob Blake's ankles before he slips a backhand past a lunging Cloutier. It's suddenly 2-1 Ducks. It's tied for the fastest two goals scored by the Ducks in team history, tying the mark set Nov. 30, 2005 against Phoenix.
19:10 - ANAHEIM GOAL - JOE DIPENTA - DiPenta snaps one from the point that deflects right away off Raitis Ivanans and sneaks past Cloutier. Yes, that's right. Joe DiPenta scores! First of the year for Smokin' Joe and first since March 7, 2007. Where has he been all year? We're tied 1-1.
18:15 - Niedermayer takes a soft, seeing-eye slap shot that deflects off Weight in the slot and appears to hit the net and come out, but the official waves it off. Still not sure about that one. Weight looked at first like he may have been hurt by the puck. Hopped around a bit. We'll see.
Still doing the thing on the video board with the fake Duck cozying up in the penalty box with a pink pillow and blanket. And still just as funny as it's always been. Unfortunately, the Duck in the video is weariing a white jersey and the real Ducks are wearing black this afternoon.
15:49 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne
, 2 min. hooking.
15:42 - Getzlaf makes a sick pass from one board to the other and hits Selanne in stride, but his ripped slap shot on the move is corralled by Cloutier.
Just realized that was Dustin Brown's 33rd goal of the season. How did that happen? He and Kopitar are both 30-goal scorers. You know how many 30-goal guys the Ducks have? Zero. Though in defense, Perry got hurt when he was stuck on 29.
12:52 - LAK Penalty - Brian Willsie, 2 min. holding.
12:24 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - DUSTIN BROWN - Brown tries a relatively benign shot from the left circle that travels through a screen by Kopitar and Duck Brian Sutherby to slip between Giguere's pads. Giguere looks to the official in apparent protest of Kopitar's proximity to him, but to no avail. It's 1-0 Purple.
11:29 - Giguere makes a very nice save on Matt Ellis, who tries a backhand right on the doorstep.
10:13 - Cammalleri tries a one-timer off an Armstrong pass from behind the net, but J.S. is there.
8:01 - Dustin Brown makes a nice pass across the crease to Kopitar, but his one-timer try is saved by Giguere.
The chant of "Ducks suck!" timed to the Adams Family theme goes up. Ducks suck? Then what does the team in 15th place do?
5:58 - Selanne takes Anaheim's first shot, from the right wing, and it deflects off Cloutier. He was announced before the game and I couldn't tell if the fans were booing or saying "Cloooouuuuut." I'm guessing booing.
A look behind the Kings goal reveals two whole sections dominated by Ducks jerseys and orange towels. That must be our message board group. Very cool to see.
2:35 - Joe DiPenta runs onto the ice. I repeat, Joe DiPenta is on the ice
Last game of the year for the Kings and there are A LOT of purple seats to be seen around this place.
0:00 - We're underway at Staples Center, the Ducks wearing their home blacks tonight, with the Kings in white.
1:11 p.m. - Somebody named Davis Gaines perrforms the anthem and he sings it rather ... um ... festively. These pictures should give you an idea.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; LAK Dan Cloutier
Starting Skaters - ANA Chris Kunitz, Todd Marchant
, Doug Weight, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer; LAK - Peter Harrold, Anze Kopitar, Lubomir Visnovsky
, Dustin Brown, Scott Thornton
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, Corey Perry
, Ryan Carter
, Brad May, Chris Pronger; LAK Jack Johnson, Kyle Calder, Jason LaBarbera, Daniel Taylor
Doug Weight gets the start for the Ducks after being a healthy scratch last game, for probably the first time in his career. Joe DiPenta is in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 2.