LOS ANGELES – It’s always a playoff atmosphere when bitter rivals LA and Anaheim get together, and tonight the action in the rink had a postseason flavor as well.
With little room on the ice to spare in a tense battle, the Kings managed just 18 shots but connected on two of them in a 2-1 victory over the Ducks in front of 18,473 fans of both teams at Staples Center.
Anaheim had just 20 shots of its own, 19 of which were stopped by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who robbed Ducks forwards Andrew Cogliano and Matt Beleskey at different points in the game.
"We played pretty well," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had Anaheim's only goal. "We held them to [three] shots in the second, and one went in the net. When you can hold a team like that, you're doing something right. It's a bounce here and there, and they scored on big one."
The Ducks, who clinched a playoff berth by virtue of a Detroit shootout loss in Chicago last night, found its lead in the Pacific Division cut to seven points over the Kings. In their four-game Freeway Face-Off season series, each team won two games in its home arena, including Anaheim's shootout win last Sunday at Honda Center.
"They're a good hockey team," Getzlaf said. "There is a reason they've gotten back to where they are in the standings."
The Ducks were held to just one shot in the first period, and one of the six the Kings got off found the net halfway through the session. Drew Doughty smacked a one-timer from the point that was deflected on its way past Viktor Fasth to make it 1-0.
Anaheim tied it three minutes into the second on the penalty kill, the first shorthanded goal given up by LA this season. Getzlaf blocked a Jake Muzzin shot and was in a footrace for the loose puck with Quick. Getzlaf just beat him to the puck knocking it toward the right wing before shuttling it into the abandoned net.
The Ducks appeared to take the lead a couple minutes later, as an Emerson Etem backhand clanged off the crossbar and Bobby Ryan nudged it in with his shin. It was ruled a goal on the ice, but replay review determined that Ryan kicked it in, and it was waved off.
It was the Kings who took the 2-1 lead with just 57.2 seconds left in the period, on a power play off a Francois Beauchemin delay of game penalty. The Ducks were left scrambling as the puck came to Mike Richards, who ripped a slap shot from above the circle over Fasth’s shoulder.
The Ducks got their first power play with 2:55 left in the game when Doughty flipped the puck over the glass in his own end. But Anaheim couldn’t make much happen with it, despite sending Viktor Fasth to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:20 left.
"It was a tough game," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "After the first period, I didn't think we had our legs, and it was 6-1 in shots. We got into penalty trouble, but I thought in the second and third we played as hard as we can play. We had chances to tie it up and take the lead, and we just didn't get it done."
The Kings had six power plays to the Ducks' one on the night, the last coming when Getzlaf intentionally hooked Dustin Brown as he was heading to the empty net with 13 seconds left in the game.
Among Quick’s big saves was a diving robbery with the glove 3 1/2 minutes into the third on Beleskey, who was following his own shot from the wing. He also denied Cogliano on a shorthanded breakaway while the Ducks were killing off a double minor in the second period.
"Our strength at the beginning of the year is that everyone was scoring, and now nobody is scoring," Boudreau said. "If I had an explanation, I could cure it. We had some great chances, but we just didn't put them in. To win hockey games, you've got to score goals."
The Ducks don’t play again until a home date with the Blue Jackets on Wednesday.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks drop a tight one, 2-1.
19:47 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. hooking. With the Kings on their way to the empty net, Getzlaf hooks Brown on purpose.
19:40 - Fasth to the bench again.
18:40 - Fasth to the bench.
17:05 - LAK Penalty - Drew Doughty, 2 min. delay of game. Doughty lifts the puck out of his own end over the glass.
16:55 - Kings ice it with 3:05 left. Draw in their end.
15:50 - Palmieri nearly makes something happen as he gets around Doughty, but Quick pokes it away. Palmieri playing with Getzlaf and Perry for most of this game.
15:00 - Quick freezes a benign Palmieri shot from the wing and we take timeout with 5:00 left.
12:44 - Fasth with a big stop on a Williams shot from the circle.
10:44 - Ducks with no power plays tonight. Kings with five.
5:45 - Fasth doesn't come out of his crease as a puck bounces between him and Brown, then he stops Brown in alone with the glove.
5:28 - Ducks get some action going before Quick gloves Beauchemin's one-timer.
3:38 - Beleskey shoots off Quick from the wing and follows up the rebound, getting absolutely robbed by Quick's glove as he's on his back. That one hurt.
2:53 - Getzlaf intercepts a Kings pass and gets the puck to the net, where Quick keeps Palmieri from punching it in.
1:25 - Ducks dodge a major bullet as a Muzzin shot from the point hits Fasth and trickles behind him just wide. Yeesh.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get one, have one taken away, Kings get another and it's 2-1.
19:02 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MIKE RICHARDS - Kings takes advantage on the power play, as the Ducks are hustling to get back over to Richards and he unleashes a slap shot that sails over Fasth's shoulder with 57.2 seconds left. It's 2-1 Kings.
Older couple makes out during Kiss Cam. Kind of awesome.
18:39 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin. 2 min. delay of game. Beauchemin flips it over the glass. Damn.
18:30 - Kings with just their second shot of the period.
17:30 - Steckel sneaks into the slot and fires off Quick.
14:59 - Perry takes a late hit from Regehr after a shot from the wing. No call.
13:41 - What's getting lost in the fact the Ducks only had 1 shot in the first is that the Kings only had six and now only have seven.
11:00 - Ducks with a couple of extremely close calls on shots by Beauchemin and Cogliano. Quick dodging some bullets.
9:27 - Ducks kill. Ducks kill.
7:15 - Cogliano gets a stretch pass and he has nothing but room on the breakaway, but Quick stops him on the backhand. Another missed opportunity for the boys in White.
7:00 - Cogliano goes behind the net, loses an edge and takes out Quick. Crowd doesn't appreciate that.
5:27 - ANA Penalty - Ben Lovejoy, 4 min. high sticking. Lovejoy gets Carter near the wall, and apparently draws blood.
4:54 - Etem maneuvers in front of Quick and backhands it off the crossbar, but Ryan follows up to nudge it into the net off his shin. It's ruled a goal on the ice, but there is a review to see if he kicked it in, and they ruled that he did. Crowd goes nuts when the referee says the word "overrruled" into the mic. Tough break.
4:03 - Dvorak nearly punches in a Koivu pass, but is just denied.
3:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf blocks a Muzzin shot and it caroms back toward the Kings end. He's in a race with a gambling Quick to retrieve the puck and he just beats Quick to it, knocking it to the side before shuttling it into the empty net. We're tied.
2:00 - Doughty one post away from getting his second of the game.
1:26 - ANA Penalty - Daniel Winnik, 2 min. slashing. Winnik slashes Lewis, but probably a good thing since he had an open net in front of him after a rebound off Fasth.
0:00 - Here we go in the second. Cogliano, who got hurt in the first, out there.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Kings get the only goal of the period, from Doughty, and it's 1-0. Kings with just six shots, but Ducks with just one.
17:40 - Palmeiri making things happen skating with Getz and Perry.
Two fans -- one dude with long hair and one youngish girl -- compete at the timeout to name as many Kings off the top of their heads as they can. Cruel and unusual punishment. Would be better off asking them to name as many Backstreet Boys as they can.
15:30 - Ryan hustles down left wing, but Quick comes out to stop him. Just the second shot for Anaheim.
15:25 - Cogliano collides with Brown near the red line and it might have been knee on knee. He's a little banged up.
12:29 - ANA Penalty - Radek Dvorak, 2 min. interference. Dvorak commits the first Ducks penalty of the game.
12:21 - Brown activates down the left wing and lets go of a backhand that Fasth is ready for. And I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Deal with it.
10:10 - LOS ANGELES GOAL - DREW DOUGHTY - Kings strike first when Doughty smacks a one-timer from the point that hits something on its way to the net and bounces behind Fasth. It's 1-0.
9:10 - Brown picks up a lost puck in the slot and fires over the crossbar. I'll admit, that dude scares me.
9:29 - A Kings dump-in hits the glass and ricochets into the crease, where Fasth covers. He's seen that before at Honda Center. We take out first timeout.