LOS ANGELES – If the Ducks and Kings do end up in the postseason together for the first time, tonight was a pretty thrilling preview of how a playoff series between the two would look.
In a physical game in front of a boisterous sold-out crowd at Staples Center that included both Kings and Ducks fanatics, Corey Perry scored a goal 1:32 into overtime to give the Ducks a dramatic 2-1 victory over their bitter rivals.
“We knew the game would be exciting and it was every bit of that," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "Obviously with the points that are up for grabs and the rivalry that’s been developing over the years, it was an excellent hockey game from our stand point because we got the extra point.”
Perry’s 37th goal of the season was set up when Anze Kopitar fell down and lost the puck in the offensive zone. Cam Fowler picked it up near the wall and sent a pinpoint cross-ice pass to a streaking Perry, who ripped a slap shot past the glove of a drawn-out Jonathan Quick. It was the first career overtime goal of Perry's career.
“I didn’t have much left,” Perry said. “I was at the end of a shift. I saw one defenseman back so I figured I might as well go. I just closed my eyes and shot it and it found a way in.”
The overtime period may never have happened without the work of Ray Emery, who had his second straight solid game with 31 saves on the night.
“It’s a fun time of the year to play, it’s easy to get up for the games," Emery said. "We realize one day you’re in eighth and the next day your 10th, then back into eighth. It’s a battle all the time and it’s fun to be in this position.”
The win was just the third in the last eight games at Staples Center for the Ducks. And with the victory, Anaheim moved into ninth in the West, just a point behind eighth-place Nashville, who beat Detroit earlier in the evening.
The Ducks’ only goal in regulation, from Brandon McMillan in the first period, gave them a 1-0 lead going into the third, but they played that period mostly in their own end as the Kings outshot them 11-6. It finally hurt them 11:04 into the period when Dustin Brown brought the Staples Center crowd to their feet with the tying goal. Seconds after a Fowler delay of game penalty expired, Michal Handzus made a gorgeous backhand pass from near the right wing wall that got through Emery, and Brown banged it in from near the left post.
The Ducks got on the board first in the opening period thanks to a fortunate bounce that resulted in the McMillan goal. Dan Sexton’s soaring dump into the LA end of the rink took an unorthodox backwards toward McMillan, who eluded a surprised Jack Johnson and deked to the forehand before beating Quick stickside.
The Kings appeared to tie it 12:48 into the second period when Wayne Simmonds batted a rebound into an open net, but the goal was immediately waved off. The official behind the net determined Alexei Ponikarovsky ran over Emery right before Simmonds got the puck and Ponikarovsky got a penalty to boot.
“At this stage in the season we can’t afford to drop any games," Fowler said. "It’s tough to give up one point to win two but there’s worse things. We could be walking out of here without any. We’ll take the win and just move on from here.”
The Ducks have a chance to break into the top eight again when they turn around and face Calgary at Honda Center tomorrow night.
“We battled tonight and we have another one tomorrow," Emery said, "so it was a huge relief when Perry scored the goal."
Kings have to hang around and do jerseys off the backs promotion for the fans. They don't look like they're in the mood.
1:32 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - IT'S OVER!!! Kopitar falls down with the puck near the right wing wall and Fowler picks up the loose change. He makes a cross-ice pass to a sprinting Perry, who rips a slap shot from the right wing past the glove of a drawn-out Quick. Ducks win it, 2-1!!!
0:45 - Selanne backhand rebound try blocked at the last second. Opportunity.
0:00 - Here we go. Nervous time.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - Ducks get the point. We'd like one more.
19:30 - Perry tries to whip it on net and Ryan is taken down trying to get the rebound. No call. Fans don't like a no call at the other end either when Perry takes down Simmonds. .
17:05 - TV timeout with 2:55 left.
17:05 - Perry tries to dump the puck to himself and sends it over the glass. Might be just what the Ducks needed. A stoppage.
16:00 - Ducks need to get it going. Spending a lot of time in their own end still.
12:33 - Ducks getting absolutely no time in the LA end. On their heels big time.
11:04 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - DUSTIN BROWN - Just seconds after the Fowler penalty expires, Handzus makes a beautiful backhand pass from near the right wing wall that gets through Emery, and Brown is standing near the left post to bang it home. It's 1-1.
10:15 - Ducks get another break as Kopitar's stick breaks in half on a one-timer and the puck is cleared.
8:56 - ANA Penalty - Cam Fowler, 2 min. delay of game. Ducks spend an awful lot of dangerous time in their end, then Fowler flips it just over the glass near the penalty box after they finally get it. Tough break because Fowler had plenty of room to work.
7:45 - Ducks nicely converge in front of the net as a shot rebounds off Emery right into the low slot. Kopitar never had a chance.
5:50 - Getzlaf looks to take a puck to the face off a Beauchemin shot, but looks okay as he skates off.
0:50 - Lydman springs out of the box for a headman pass, shooting it with some room off Quick.
0:00 - Here we go in the third. Should be a good one.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks escape with 1-0 lead intact, but Kings with some power play time when we come back.
19:55 - Doughty has a good look, but fires wide for the second time on this power play.
18:36 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. hooking. Lydman hooks Handzus as he tries to charge the net.
18:30 - Koivu loses the puck trying to cut to the net, and seconds later, a Blake one-timer off a Selanna pass it just saved by Quick. Whoa.
17:00 - Ducks get a little break as a Kopitar rebound try into an open right half of the net hits a skate and goes right to Emery.
Kings still running that anti-Ducks South Park video. Some things never change.
Dude from Five for Fighting is here, and gets some love on the video board. Obviously a hockey fan by the way they named their band.
14:55 - Selanne giveaway leads to a Mitchell slap shot that Emery puts to bed.
12:48 - LAK Penalty - Alexei Ponikarovsky, 2 min. goaltender interference. Kings look like they get the goal, but it's waved off right away as the official is on the spot to rule that Ponikarovsky ran over Emery, giving Simmonds a wide open net. Nice break for Anaheim and the home fans are not happy. Didn't help that they replayed it about six times on the video board.
12:02 - Perry just misses on an open look from the slot.
Kiss Cam just works. Even in the enemy's rink.
10:18 - Koivu whips a one-timer that Quick is ready for.
9:30 - Another kill, as Ducks block a couple of shots to finish it off.
7:30 - ANA Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. cross checking. Sutton cross checks Simmonds right in front of the Anaheim net away from the puck.
7:08 - Big kill as neither power play can get on track tonight. Ducks fifth in the league in PP%, Kings 18th.
5:08 - ANA Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. hooking. Brown gets in between the Ds on a stretch pass and Sutton stops the breakaway with the hook as Brown shoots it wide. Replays showed it was a stick lift as Sutton got his stick in between Brown's legs. Still, looked enough like a hook.
Sorry, folks. Big-time delay because of faulty Wi-Fi here.
1:16 - LAK Penalty - Dustin Brown, 2 min. interference.
0:50 - Blake takes the puck away from Doughty and gets on the breakaway, but Quick makes a wonderful glove save on the wrist shot.
0:30 - Perry trips and falls right into Quick as the puck is going the other way. No payback.
0:00 - Here we go in the second
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Solid first for the Ducks, who get a McMillan goal to go ahead 1-0. 19:15 - Getzlaf nicely blocks a Stoll point shot that ricochets to the other end as the PP runs out. Nice.
17:21 - ANA Penalty - Luca Sbisa, 2 min. boarding. Sbisa knocks Brown into the wall and ... I didn't care much for that call. Either did a screaming Randy Carlyle.
15:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BRANDON MCMILLAN - Sexton dumps the puck high into the LA zone and it takes a wicked hop, backing up like it was shot with a sand wedge. It kicks away from Johnson, right to McMillan, who cuts around Johnson, dekes Quick and sends a forehand past him stick side. McMillan is elated, Kings fans are stunned and it's 1-0.
14:44 - Greene thinks Winchester gets a little too close to Quick and gives him a shove. Winchester looks like he wants to fight back, but his arms are tied up by Greene.
11:14 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. high sticking. Getzlaf knocks out the power play by high sticking Greene.
Nashville beat Detroit, so Ducks can't move into eighth tonight.
10:31 - LAK Penalty - Ryan Smyth, 2 min. hooking. Koivu with a nice lead pass to Blake, who tries to move to the backhand but gets tripped up by Quick, though they give a hook from behind to Smyth. First power play of the game. Let's see what the Quack does with it.
8:50 - Parros with a giveaway to Richardson, but Emery takes his shot off the shoulder.
7:30 - Lots of blocked shots early from both sides.
5:35 - Emery nicely kicks away a backhander by Lewis.
1:54 - Winchester battling behind the net with Martinez, then nearly forces the puck under Quick, who had a bad game the other night against St. Louis.
Organist plays into the "Ducks suck!" chant right off the bat.
0:00 - And we're underway at Staples Center. Pumped.
7:41 p.m. - Staples mainstay Davis Gaines vamps his way through another anthem. Let's just say Davis Gaines really enjoys Davis Gaines. Emery again with his anthem ritual of heading into his own net at "land of the freeee..." and putting ducking his head under the crossbar for a quick prayer.
7:38 - As Miller is listing the legends they've honored this season, Ducks hit the ice, making it sound as if the fans are booing the legends.
7:31 p.m. - It's another in a series of Legends Nights here at Staples, as they honor former King Bob Pulford with a pregame ceremony. Bob Miller is on the ice doing the ceremony, so not sure how he's going to sprint up to the booth before we drop the puck. Which, by the way, can't come soon enough.
Ray Emery getting the start for the second straight game, as all the Ducks starters are booed by the Kings faithful as they're announced. Starters in bold/italics.