By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AnaheimDucks.com LOS ANGELES – Back in Southern California and rested after a long trek through the East Coast, the Ducks couldn’t make themselves at home in a more familiar opponent’s rink.
In the continuation of the Freeway Face-Off series with the rival Kings, Anaheim gave up four goals in the second period – including three unanswered – on their way to a 4-1 defeat at Staples Center. The Ducks, who were playing for the first time since a four-day holiday break after a lenghty road trip, dropped their fourth game in the last five.
“We made too many critical mistakes with the puck," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We didn’t execute anywhere near our abilities and it seemed like we couldn’t get anything going.”
The Kings broke the game open in the second period, scoring four goals, starting with the first one just 15 seconds into the period. That’s when a Michal Handzus backhand clicked off Cam Fowler’s stick into the crease, where Wayne Simmonds gathered it and quickly wristed it home from point blank.
Matt Beleskey evened things up just 32 seconds later, knocking down a Toni Lydman shot under goalie Jonathan Bernier. It was the first of the season for Beleskey, who had just been recalled by the Ducks earlier today. “To get a goal tonight was nice for me," Beleskey said, "but it wasn’t the game we were looking for.”
The thrill of that goal would wear off when the Kings went on to score three unanswered to forge a 4-1 lead. Anze Kopitar punched in a juicy rebound off a Marco Sturm shot from the wing at 9:10 to put L.A. in front by a goal. A few minutes later, Joffrey Lupul lost control of a too-hot-to-handle drop pass in the Anaheim end, which Justin Williams picked up and fired past Hiller’s glove.
Another five minutes after that on the power play, following a Beleskey delay of game minor, Drew Doughty’s point shot came off Hiller into the slot, where Dustin Brown sent it through.
Hiller was pulled after that goal for Curtis McElhinney, who went the rest of the way. “It was a tough game," Hiller said. "The ice was bouncy, the pucks were bouncing. It was tough to control rebounds. The pucks were all over the place and it wasn’t easy to play tonight.
“We gave them way too many chances in our slot. I probably should have stopped some and no one would talk about it but it wasn’t good enough tonight.”
"It’s always deflating to see them get three goals in a row," Carlyle said. "We fumbled the puck and we should have had someone in position to recover it. They made a shot that nine times out of 10 our goalie would have stopped but he didn’t tonight."
The Ducks head from L.A. straight to Phoenix, where they take on the Coyotes Tuesday night. GAME LOG
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks don't mount a comeback in the third and fall 4-1.
17:10 - Ducks don't convert on a rare power play for them tonight.
15:10 - LAK Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice.
8:44 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. slashing and 5 min. fighting and LAK Penalty - Wayne Simmonds, 5 min. fighting. Perry and Simmonds get into it near the benches and the gloves fomr off, with both players throwing punches and grabbing at shirts, before Simmonds lands on top of Perry.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks with some serious work to do.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Kings blow the game open with three unanswered and it's 4-1.
17:57 - McElhinney in for Hiller.
17:57 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DUSTIN BROWN - Kings cash in on the PP, as a Doughty shot from the point bounces off Hiller into the slot, where Brown sends it under Hiller's arm.
16:53 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. delay of game. Beleskey fires it over the glass.
12:55 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - JUSTIN WILLIAMS - A bad turnover leads directly to a Kings goal, as Lupul can't control a too-hot-to-handle drop pass, which Williams picks up and fires past Hiller on the glove side.
9:10 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - ANZE KOPITAR - Two juicy rebounds in a row haunt Hiller, as Kopitar fires from the blueline on the rush and the rebound comes to Sturm in the left wing circle. He slaps it back on net, where it hits off Hiller right in front, and Kopitar chips it through. It's 2-1 Kings.
7:45 - Ducks come close with the puck pinballing around in front of Bernier, but can't cash in.
3:37 - Visnovsky carries the puck in deep, spins and fires. It's saved by Bernier, but Perry tries to jab at the loose puck, leading to somewhat of a shoving match between him and Greene.
0:47 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - Just as the Kings goal is being announced, Getzlaf feeds Lydman at the point for the one-timer that Beleskey knocks down in the slot to get it under Bernier. First of the season for Beleskey, who just got recalled today. We're tied 1-1 on two goals in the first 47 seconds.
0:15 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - WAYNE SIMMONDS - Handzus backhands a shot from the right wing dot that hits off the stick of Fowler and bounds through the blue paint, where Simmonds picks it up and fires it through from point blank. It's 1-0 Kings.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get eight shots, the KIngs eight and we're scoreless after 1.
Dancing man on the video board gets booed when he turns around and shows ANAHEIM DUCKS on the back of his jacket. That wasn't my dad, was it?
15:50 - Hiller gets bailed out as he taps a loose puck into the middle, but Williams' rebound backhand goes just wide. Home crowd was ready to roar on that one.
13:40 - Sbisa lays a nice shot on Kopitar near the Anaheim blue line.
12:06 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. roughing. Beleskey kicks a loose puck to Hiller for the cover and then doesn't like how close Brown is getting, so he shoves him down by the face, with Brown covering said face with both gloves down on the ice.
Don't forget we have a hashtag battle going with the Kings tonight. Help the Ducks out, since they only posted the Kings part of it just now on the video board. Get the details here.
8:20 - Marchant picks up a loose puck on a partial breakaway, moves to the backhand and gets stonewalled by Bernier.
Another "Ducks suck" chant inspired this time by the organ player. I remember that chant being popular when they won the Cup. Oh wait, that was us.
Kings ice girls are clad in shiny silver "Santa suits" tonight. The funniest thing was seeing one of them walking through the parking garage two hours before the game. Dad had trouble not staring.
Power Player Katie, here as a fan, shown on the video board during the timeout. Probably for hotness reasons, not "enemy ice girl" reasons.
4:20 - Ryan appears to be at center with McMIllan and Lupul for the time being. Bonino being out influences that.
3:30 - A Kings turnover behind the net comes to Beleskey, who feeds in front to Perry, but he's robbed by Bernier. Close one.
First anti-Ducks chant of the game, egged on by some Kings-employed drummers.
No less than five tennis balls in the fourth row behind the Kings net.
0:23 - LAK Penalty - Wayne Simmonds, 2 min. kneeing. Simmonds gets Lilja behind the net with the shoulder, and hip, but not the knee. We'll take it.
0:00 - And we're underway at Staples Center. Definitely ready for this one.
Little Taylor Longbrake, one of my all-time favorites, with a nice job on the anthem. Miss her at Honda Center.
Coldest press box in the world also has a troublesome internet connection tonight. I'll do my best.
New callup Beleskey starts on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry. Bernier in net over Quick, since the Kings play tomorrow night in San Jose. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.