ANAHEIM – Ducks and Kings fans have long fantasized about what it would be like for their teams to face each other in the postseason. But if those battles are anything like this one, it's doubtful their hearts can take a seven-game series.
On a night that carried a playoff-like atmosphere, Corey Perry scored a big goal in the second period, and connected on the final attempt of the shootout to lead the Ducks to a resounding 4-3 victory at Honda Center. The win came in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 17,494, many of whom spent the evening banging giveaway Thundersticks with the words "Beat LA" written on them.
Perry’s heroics came on a night when his linemate and Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had to sit out with a leg injury, and Perry's two big strikes looked remarkably similar to each other. In the second period, he scored on a breakaway by whistling the puck inside the far post, and he did pretty much the same as he skated in on LA goalie Jonathan Bernier in the third round of the shootout.
"We knew it was going to be an emotional game out there," Perry said. "They’ve been playing well. Everybody knows they're hitting their stride. When you can come away with a big win like tonight, it’s huge."
The win was the Ducks' second in three games of the season series, and nudged Anaheim to a nine-point lead in the Pacific Division over LA.
"It was just a fast-paced game," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "People wouldn’t call it playoff hockey because there were too many goals, but I’d tell you, there were two teams that were giving it everything they had and they didn’t leave anything on the ice."
Anaheim took a 3-2 lead 4:45 into the third period courtesy of Matt Beleskey on the power play. Beleskey tipped a Sheldon Souray point shot into goalie Jonathan Bernier, who couldn’t hold the puck. Beleskey scooped it away from him and put it behind him.
But that left too much time for the Kings, who were given far too many opportunities in the period, and they finally found paydirt with 3:45 left in regulation. Anze Kopitar drove hard to the net and put a shot off goalie Viktor Fasth, and Dustin Brown was there to punch in the rebound.
Neither team scored for the rest of regulation and overtime, giving way to the shootout, where Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu converted in the opening two rounds. Fasth’s one stop on Mike Richards in the bottom of the first round was enough to set the table for Perry’s heroics. Fasth had 35 saves in regulation and overtime, ran his shootout record to 5-1 and got credit from Perry.
"It starts right with [Fasth] and right on out," he said. "[Beleskey] had some big hits and got that power play goal and the big assist at the start of the game. When you have everybody going, it’s a special thing."
The Ducks scored the game’s first goal at 2:54 of the first period on a Kyle Palmieri goal. Beleskey won a battle near the wall and hit Palmieri, who sped around Jordan Nolan on the way to the net. As he tried to deke around Bernier, he hit his own skate with the puck, but that was enough to fool Bernier, who never saw the puck bounce in behind him.
Neither team scored again until the Kings got the equalizer six minutes into the second period on the power play, as a Drew Doughty slap shot beat Fasth, who was screened by big Jeff Carter.
Anaheim wasn’t able to generate much the rest of the period, until with 1:48 left, Andrew Cogliano made a beautiful stretch pass to Corey Perry, who slung a wrist shot inside the left post on the breakaway.
The home crowd’s celebration of that goal was interrupted by a counterattack by the Kings, who got a Carter goal with 29.4 left in the period. Mike Richards’ puck toss into the crease was tipped through Fasth by Carter to knot it up 2-2.
Asked if it felt like a playoff atmoshpere, Ducks defenseman Sheldon Souray said, "It’s getting there. They’re a team that’s playing well and we’re playing well. There aren’t a lot of games left for both. We’re both fighting for a spot in the standings. With two good teams going at it, the competition is going to be better in a game like tonight than maybe some other ones."
The Ducks can only celebrate this one for a little bit, as they turn right around and face the Oilers back here at Honda Center tomorrow night.
Anaheim has gone 4-1-1 in its last six contests and 11-5-2 in its last 18. The club’s season-tying five-game homestand concludes tomorrow night vs. Edmonton. It is the fourth and final back-to-back set of contests at HOME this season.
Tonight marks the first time the Ducks have gone undefeated vs. Los Angeles at HOME in a season series since 2007-08 (4-0-0).
Anaheim’s 26-8-5 record (57 points) this season rank third in the NHL behind only Chicago (62) and Pittsburgh (58). This is the club’s second-best mark through 39 games in club history (28-5-6, 62 points in 2006-07).
In addition, the Ducks’ 15-5-0 record (30 points) at Honda Center in 2012-13 is the club’s second-best mark through 20 home contests (14-2-4 for 32 points through 20 in 2006-07).
Corey Perry now shares the team-lead in goals (with Getzlaf), notching his 13th of the season tonight. He has scored four goals in his last eight games (4-2=6) and has earned 4-3=7 points in his last nine contests. In addition, he has earned 12-13=25 points with a +8 over his last 23.
Over his last four contests, Viktor Fasth has posted a 2.17 GAA (11 GA/304 MIN) and a .928 SV% (141-of-152). Tonight marked his fifth shootout win of the season (5-1 in shootouts in 2012-13 overall).
Sheldon Souray picked up his first multi-assist game of the season (0-2=2) and has notched 1-4=5 points (+4) in the last six games.
Andrew Cogliano has a three-game point streak (2-1=3) and has earned 2-2=4 points in his last five. He has scored 12-10=22 points in 2012-13, just four points shy of matching his entire 2011-12 season total over 82 games (13-13=26).
Scoring Anaheim’s third goal tonight, Matt Beleskey has picked up 2-2=4 points in his last four contests. Tonight marked his second multi-point game of the season (also Feb. 15 at Detroit, 1-1=2).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,494.
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is GOOD, as he skates in and flicks a wrist shot inside the right post. Ducks win it, 4-3!
LAK Jeff Carter's attempt is GOOD as he speeds in and backhands over Fasth.
ANA Saku Koivu attempt is GOOD, as he undresses Bernier with the deke move and forehands it home.
LAK Mike Richards attempt is no good, as Fasth holds steady on the five hole.
ANA Bobby Ryan's attempt is GOOD, as he dekes to the backhand and shuttles it past Bernier.
5:00 - We're going to a shootout.
4:55 - Palmieri knocks the puck out of the zone with seconds remaining.
2:45 - Palmieri nearly makes something happen on his own. Wow. Playing well with Etem.
2:07 - Winnik chases down the puck and fires with Selanne lurking, but it's in Bernier's glove.
0:35 - Fasth with his 33rd save of the night on a Kopitar shot.
0:00 - Off and running in OT.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - We're going to OT.
19:55 - Perry comes close, but can't get the shot off.
19:47 - Kings ice it with 12.4 seconds left and they take timeout before the draw in their end.
19:07 - Kings threaten again, as King throws it into the middle and Fasth holds his ground as Stoll knocks the net off with a push from Beleskey. Intense out there.
18:43 - Scuderi with a one-timer from right on top of the blue line, but Fasth tucks it in.
17:10 - Steckel with a nice drop pass to Fowler, who fires off Bernier's leg pad. Close one.
16:15 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - DUSTIN BROWN - The Ducks give the Kings too many chances, and they finally make Anaheim pay, as Kopitar goes hard to the net and shoots off Fasth, and Brown is there to punch in the rebound. We're tied 3-3.
16:00 - Brown hustles down the wing and fires, but Fasth saves and Souray kicks away the rebound.
14:36 - Stoll with a shot on Fasth after the whistle for offside. Ducks don't care for it. TV timeout with 5:24 left.
13:41 - Fasth casthes and holds a Nolan shot from the wing. Faceoff in the Ducks end with 6:19 left and a 3-2 lead.
9:10 - Perry falls to the ice on the puck near the end boards, and won't give any ground as Regehr hacks away at him. Finally a whistle.
7:30 - Kings with a ton of chances against the Selanne-Lombardi-Etem line before the puck is cleared and they change.
4:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MATT BELESKEY - Beleskey gets a second and third chance, and makes it pay off, as he tips a high Souray shot into Bernier, but Bernier can't hold on to hit, so Beleskey scoops it away from him and puts it behind him. Beleskey kneels to the ice and delivers an uppercut to celebrate a 3-2 Ducks lead.
4:50 - Beleskey with a chance, but Bernier robs.
4:27 - LAK Penalty - Jeff Carter, 2 min. high sticking. Carter gets Allen in the face way back in the Anaheim zone. Ducks with another shot.
2:17 - Fasth with some trouble handing the puck behind the net, but he surcives when Nolan whiffs on a shot attempt.
0:00 - And away we go...
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Not the best period for the Ducks, who do briefly take the lead on Perry's breakaway goal, but Carter ties it with a half-minute left. This third period should be not too shabby.
19:30 - LOS ANGELS GOAL - JEFF CARTER - Kings strike right back with 29.4 left, as Richards throws it toward the crease from the corner, and Carter tips it through Fasth to tie it 2-2.
18:12 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Ducks pull this one out of nowhere, as they finally clear the puck out of their end, and Cogliano makes a gorgeous feed across the ice to Perry, who was nearly offside when he received it. No call, so he skates in and slings a wrister just inside the left post to give Anaheim a 2-1 lead.
16:55 - Ducks ice it with a gassed unit out there, so Boudreau wisely uses his timeout.
15:45 - Etem with a wicked wristah from the left wing that goes in and out of Bernier's glove, but just wide.
15:15 - Palmieri tries a backhand pass to an Open Fowler, but it's just knocked away. Fowler will get his first some other time.
13:15 - Kings just barely offside as Kopitar feeds Williams on the rush.
13:10 - Fasth with a glove save.
10:30 - Perry and Brown get tangled away from the puck, and take a couple shots at each other. They don't enjoy each other's company much.
8:00 - Steckel with a nice feed from behind the net to Palmieri in the slot, but his one-timer goes wide.
5:59 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DREW DOUGHTY - Kings make the Ducks pay in a hurry, as Doughty tags a slap shot that beats Fasth on the glove side. Fasth had Carter's big body blocking his view. It's 1-1.
5:43 - ANA Penalty - Matthew Lombardi, 2 min. tripping. Kings get a shot now.
3:15 - Lydman makes a big play to knock the puck away, as Richardson was about to try and wrap it around Fasth.
2:36 - Kings kill another one with ease. Ducks miss Getz here more than ever.
0:36 - LAK Penalty - Kyle Clifford, 2 min. high sticking. Clifford gets Koivu in the side of the face as Koivu heads up ice, and the Ducks get another crack at it.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks-Kings rarely disappoints, and either did that first period. The Ducks get the only goal (from Palmieri) and lead it 1-0.
19:39 - Brown feeds Carter between the circles, but Fasth slides out to cut off the angle and makes the stop between the pads.
16:00 - Etem with a wrister through traffic that Bernier kicks.
14:38 - Carter's wrist shot is wide and off the wall, down to the other end of the ice as the penalty expires.
12:58 - Fasth with a nice stop on a Kopitar wrister with Brown hanging all over him.
12:38 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Souray, 2 min. hooking. Kings with a lengthy time with the puck during the delayed whistle, but Ducks escape.
9:54 - Kings kill it. They're 2 for 2 tonight.
8:15 - Brown knocks down Beauchemin's pass and he's off to the races on a breakaway, and Fasth's poke check not only makes a big save, but knocks Brown hard to the ice in the process. After he gets up, Beauchemin nails him back down. Crowd kinda liked that.
7:54 - LAK Penalty - Keaton Ellerby, 2 min. interference. Ellerby hip checks Etem into the gate for the Kings bench as Etem chases the puck.
5:34 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan and LAK Penalty - Drew Doughty, 2 min. roughing. After Bernier freezes the puck, Bobbyi is face to face with him and Dougnhty doesn't like it. He gives Ryan the business and then Richards steps in to do some shoving to Ryan's face.
4:37 - LAK Penalty - Jarret Stoll, 2 min. boarding. Stoll takes Fowler into the wall and we've got a power play.
2:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE PALMIERI - Beleskey beats Williams in a battle for the puck along the wall. He feeds Palmieri, who speeds around Nolan and actually loses the puck on his own skate trying to deke around Bernier. That's enough to fool Bernier as it bounces behind him. Crowd goes berserk and it's 1-0 Ducks early.
1:10 - Perry trying to get something going early. Hacks away a couple times, but Bernier denies.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center. It's already loud in here.
Pregame Fasth in net for Anaheim with Hiller backing up. Bernier in for LA.
Starters in bold/italics.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
MIKE RICHARDS (A)
ANZE KOPITAR (A)
DUSTIN BROWN (C)
TEEMU SELANNE (A)
COREY PERRY (A)
SAKU KOIVU (A)
1 - 0 ANA
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 ANA
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 ANA