LOS ANGELES – For the second straight night, Saku Koivu scored a late goal on a 6-on-4 to send the game to overtime, but this time the result was a lot more satisfying for the Anaheim Ducks.
Koivu himself assured the Ducks wouldn’t lose a second consecutive shootout, deking right and left before roofing a shot in the bottom half of the third round to steal a 2-1 victory for the Ducks in front of a sellout crowd at Staples Center.
In a game where the Ducks made little happen offensively for the first 58 minutes, Koivu came through in the clutch yet again with just 1:32 remaining in regulation. A Jarret Stoll hooking penalty combined with goalie Curtis McElhinney being sent to the bench for an extra attacker gave the Ducks a two-man advantage. And they capitalized when both Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan sent point blank shots off goalie Jonathan Quick, and Ryan’s bid rebounded to Koivu near the right post, where he lifted it just under the crossbar.
McElhinney was right back in net through a scoreless overtime and the shootout, where he fared much better than in last night’s home loss to Vancouver. He denied Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown, setting up Koivu to win it after both Perry and Teemu Selanne came up empty in their attempts.
"I had a chance to put the game away," Koivu said, "and luckily I came through."
Johnson’s power play goal late in the first was the only damage during a mostly uneventful first two periods (save for a second period brawl between Sheldon Broobank and Raitis Ivanans). Johnson’s slap shot from the point deflected off Troy Bodie and eluded McElhinney, who had Alexander Frolov draped over him.
It was the first time in his career McElhinney had started both games of a back-to-back, as he continues to fill in for the injured Jonas Hiller (back spasms). His 28-save victory (his fourth in five straight starts) kept the Ducks alive in what remains a longshot of a postseason bid.
The Ducks, 4-0-1 in their last five games, closed to within four points of the eighth and final playoff spot owned by Colorado and Calgary, which both have 89 points. During the five-game stretch, the Ducks have shaved seven points off the deficit from eighth place.
Tonight was Anaheim's second win in five games over the likely playoff-bound Kings. The two teams play their series finale Tuesday night at Honda Center.
ANA Saku Koivu's attempt is GOOD! He dekes right and left and roofs a forehand. Ducks win it, 2-1.
LAK Dustin Brown's attempt is NO GOOD, as he tries a quick wrister that Mac reaches up to stop.
ANA Teemu Selanne's attempt is NO GOOD, as he tries a wrister off Quick.
LAK Jack Johnson's attempt is NO GOOD, as he tries backhand and it goes off te glove.
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is NO GOOD, as he hangs on to the puck too long and sends it off the outside of the post.
LAK Anze Kopitar's attempt is NO GOOD, as he tries to go backhand and Mac stops.
5:00 - Shootout time for the second straight night.
4:40 - Doughty cruises in and pulls McElhinney waaay out, but can't get it under him for the pass.
3:40 - Beleskey steals the puck, crashes the net, goes to the backhand and Quick stops. Another close call.
3:40 - Ryan makes a great poke check steal and sends ahead to an open Blake, who fires way high from the wing.
1:30 - Close call as Mac is out of position and Smyth tries to sneak it in from near the post, but it runs along the goal line in and out of the crease.
0:00 - Here we go.
3rd Period 20:00 - END OF REGULATION - We're going to OT.
19:30 - Scary moment as the Kings get in deep, but can't send it home.
18:28 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - For the second straight night, it's Koivu late on the 6-on-4. Perry gets the puck near the post and tries to force it in and it kicks off Quick to Ryan, who also sends it off Quick. But he's down when the puck comes to Koivu, who roofs it from near the right post. We're tied 1-1.
17:50 - Draw taken with Mac on the bench. It's 6-on-4.
Living on a Prayer during the timeout. Interesting.
17:47 - Timeout Anaheim. Possible 6-on-4 coming up.
17:47 - LAK Penalty - Jarret Stoll, 2 min. hooking. Chance for the Ducks.
17:31 - Ryan is off to the races after the puck goes under O'Donnell's stick, but he dekes to the backhand and sends it wide. Best scoring chance for Anaheim in a long while.
14:19 - Nice catch in the crowd on a puck that flies over the glass. That's really the only exciting thing to write about right now.
12:00 - Ducks really having trouble getting anything going in front of the net.
10:00 - Bodie shot from the point nearly sneaks through with Marchant screening.
6:38 - Ducks kill. Now time to go to work.
They're still doing the thing where they put up a fake shot of a Duck in the penalty box reading a children's book or resting on a pillow. Hopefully when they make the playoffs they'll start focusing on hockey around here.
4:38 - ANA Penalty - Troy Bodie, 2 min. delay of game. Bodie flips it over the glass. Marchant tries to talk the officials out of it to no avail.
3:50 - Selanne curls around the net for a backhand, saved by Quick.
Theme song from Rescue Me comes on during a break in the action. THAT I approve of.
1:30 - A Visnovsky slap shot goes off Quick's glove and just wide. May be the first time I've mentioned Quick tonight. That's saying something about Anaheim's scoring chances.
It's a sellout in here tonight, 18,118.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, the Ducks with some power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It remains 1-0, but the Ducks get 1:45 of power play time in the third.
19:45 - LAK Penalty - Sean O'Donnell, 2 min. holding the stick. First power play for the Ducks, believe it or not.
19:43 - Selanne just misses punching in a rebound off a Ryan shot.
18:15 - Nice play by Wiz to poke the puck away on a rush. He might be getting his legs.
I could really use a white team goal.
16:01 - Frolov sends the puck in front to Stoll and he appears to one-time it through. Crowd goes crazy and it's ruled a goal on the ice, but replays clearly show that the right post was off its support and the puck actually went under the net. No goal. Crowd boos anyway.
13:58 - Chipchura chips the puck into the crease, but Parros can't push it through in a crowd.
The crowd's chanting "Anaheim sucks!" but it's hard to hear them with my Stanley Cup ring plugging one of my ears.
11:15 - Ducks miss a golden opportunity when Selanne has a shot at an open net after the puck comes off the back board, but he hits the near post from a low angle.
10:41 - Ducks kill it, ending with a bit of a chance at the other end.
8:50 - Unfortunately, the Ducks get one more roughing minor than the Kings and there is now a Kings power play.
8:41 - ANA Penalty - Mike Brown and Kyle Chipchura, 2 min. each roughing and Sheldon Brookbank, 5 min. fighting and LAK Penalty - Wayne Simmonds, 2 min. roughing and Raitis Ivanans, 2 min. roughing. Little bit of a scuffle after the whistle seems to end with just Brookbank and Ivanans holding each other's jerseys and staring each other down. After a good minute of that, they start throwing down with Brookbank taking most of the punishment before it's broken up. They play Rocky music in the arena while the fight is going on. Talk about cheeseball.
8:30 - Kings nearly get one on the rush, but the puck goes wide.
8:10 - Brown and Parse collide behind the net and Parse goes flying. He's alright.
7:50 - Marchant pounces on the puck in the slot, but fires way high.
I played Ducks at Kings this morning on the NHL 10 video game and won 3-2 in overtime. Just saying. And oh yeah, I'm 36.
1:53 - Good kill to start things for Anaheim. Now they need to make things happen at the other end.
I'm going to go with Mac from now on. McElhinney is too much too type and too easy to misspell. Hope everybody understands.
1:13 - Kings get their first shot, Modin right into McElhinney.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Kings on the PP.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks give up a late on to Johnson on the power play and it's 1-0. Kings will be on the PP again when we come back.
19:40 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JACK JOHNSON - After Wisniewski fans twice trying to eject the puck out of the zone, Johnson lays into a slap shot from the point that deflects off Bodie and eludes McElhinney, who had Frolov all over him. It's 1-0 Kings with 19.3 left in the first.
Just confirmed that McElhinney has never started two straight games, let alone both games of a back-to-back. Remember he played in Calgary behind Miikka Kiprusoff, who rarely takes a night off.
18:05 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. tripping. Perry takes down Modin for the first minor of the game.
I just got this sudden feeling that something crazy is going to happen in this building tonight. Not sure what it's going to be. Stay tuned.
15:10 - Blake takes an ugly spill into the wall behind the L.A. net, but he's alright.
13:55 - Perry tries a backhand wraparound, just as the net is nearly knocked on top of Quick.
12:10 - Smyth with a one-timer from a bad angle, ricochets off McElhinney. Forgot to mention he's in net tonight for the second straight game. I haven't checked, but I'm fairly certain it's the first back-to-back of his NHL life.
I should mention that I badly want this game tonight. Hate losing in this building.
They could at least replace Bruce Almighty with the Duke-West Virginia game. Just saying.
9:40 - Blake on a 2-on-1 wish Selanne and he fires a shot off the plumbing.
7:20 - Ducks make things happen in front of the net, but can't get anything through.
The movie Bruce Almighty is showing on one of the TVs up here in the press box. They haven't gotten around to changing it. It was just showing Sweet Home Alabama earlier. Not sure which is worse.
3:00 - Wisniewski out there for the first time after a league-mandated eight-game rest.
2:30 - Ryan, Bonino and Perry again on that top line.
First appeance of the organ player-encouraged "Ducks suck!" chant. Oh, how I've missed it.
0:00 - And we're underway at Staples Center.
7:37 p.m. - The comely Rachael ... damn, I forgot her last name ... does a nice job on the anthem.