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Live Game Blog
Corey Perry had two goals and an assist while Jonas Hiller looked impressive in his first NHL start as the Ducks downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 to split the league's first-ever regular-season games in Europe.
Chris Kunitz and Travis Moen also scored for the Ducks, who decided to try out the 25-year-old Hiller after Ilya Bryzgalov was in goal for Saturday's 4-1 loss.
Hiller, voted best goalie in the Swiss League last season, made some big saves on Kyle Calder and Brad Stuart and looked confident in earning his first career NHL victory.
Mike Cammalleri replied for the Kings, who also switched it up in net. Jason Labarbera, however, didn't fare as well as 19-year-old rookie Jonathan Bernier, who on Saturday stole the show with a 26-save performance.
The second straight sellout crowd at 02 Arena once again provided an electric atmosphere, with fans from all over Europe and North America wearing jerseys from all 30 NHL teams as well uniforms from European clubs. The wave was also back for a second straight game.
The loudest cheer of the weekend? Not even close. The crowd was on its feet for an impressive tussle midway through the second period Sunday between Ducks tough guy George Parros and rugged Kings winger Scott Thornton, the latter holding his own against a bigger foe. A standing ovation rocked the 02 Arena as they made their way to the penalty box.
The second game of the 2007-08 season also provided a little more entertainment, the passes more crisp and the play less sloppy than Saturday's opener.
All in all, not a bad week for the NHL with its first-ever regular-season games in Europe. The local media coverage was minimal with Chelsea's struggles in the English Premier League dominating the scene. But the two games sold out and the league was able to reach out to fans from all over the continent.
"The facility was terrific, the teams were extremely supportive, the hospitality was wonderful and the fans welcomed us warmly," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "Those elements combined to create a memorable experience that will factor strongly into our consideration of more such undertakings in the future."
Bettman will debrief the Ducks and the Kings in a few weeks to figure out what kind of toll - if any - the trip took on them. There's already talk the league could open next season in Prague with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vincent Lecavalier and the Tampa Bay Lightning facing off. A source confirmed Sunday that was the preliminary plan but also stressed it was far from a done deal.
The NHL's long-term future in Europe was the last thing on Randy Carlyle's mind. The Ducks head coach didn't like what he saw Saturday and made changes. All it took was one loss for Carlyle to split up Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Getzlaf after the pair had skated together throughout camp. Bertuzzi joined Bobby Ryan and Andy McDonald on one line Sunday while Getzlaf re-joined Perry on a combination that worked so well last season. Kunitz was the third member of that line Sunday.
The Ducks resembled Cup champs a little more closely, storming out of the gate and applying pressure on the Kings and going ahead 2-0 on a pair of power-play goals.
Perry opened the scoring at 10:49, getting his own rebound at the side of the net and flipping it upstairs on Labarbera. Kunitz doubled the lead at 15:19, sliding a loose puck at the side into the open net.
Anaheim came out in the second period and played keep-away from Los Angeles, leading to Perry's second goal at 2:53, an open-net one-timer after Kent Huskins' point shot came off the end boards right to Perry.
The pillage continued, Moen taking a pass from Rob Niedermayer and roofing a shot on Labarbera from the slot at 4:10.
The Kings finally woke up, putting together their best shift of the game with sustained pressure and it paid off when Cammalleri - already now with three goals on the season - beating Hiller from an acute angle at the side of the net at 8:57.
Notes: Ryan Carter was in for Brad May up front for Anaheim while Thornton replaced tough guy Raitis Ivanans among the Kings forwards ... Kings captain Rob Blake was slated to fly to Toronto this week to film a scene in an upcoming Mike Myers movie called "The Love Guru." ... Hiller is the fourth Swiss-born netminder to play in an NHL game after David Aebischer, Martin Gerber and Pauli Jaks. ... The Ducks flew out right after the game. They play at Detroit on Wednesday. The Kings host St. Louis on Saturday.