Ducks 3, Kings 1
The results of a preseason game are quickly forgotten, but lessons can be learned.
On Sunday night, the Anaheim Ducks served as proverbial professors. The Ducks, playing their third exhibition game in three nights, put out a prospect-heavy roster against a veteran Kings team, but the Kings didn’t offer a lot in most of their 3-1 loss in front of an announced 14,103 at STAPLES Center.
There’s still plenty of work ahead for the Kings, who play exhibition games Tuesday in Kansas City, Wednesday in Denver, Friday in Anaheim and Saturday in Las Vegas before they open the regular season in Stockholm.
Sunday night, though, was a chance to get in a good rhythm with a roster heavy on NHL players -- the top three forward lines, three regular defensemen and both goalies -- but the Ducks got the job done.
Kyle Palmieri scored 2:45 into the second period, and Andrew Gordon and Patrick Maroon scored in the final 40 seconds of the period to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead.
``Sometimes, I don’t know, it could be hard,’’ Kings winger Simon Gagne
said. ``It’s maybe the nature of any guys. You look at the lineup and you think they’ve got a `B’ team and they don’t have their best players, so maybe you think it’s going to be easier. That’s maybe why we started the game like we did. But it’s not an excuse. Even if it’s preseason, you want to find a way to get better as quick as you can.’’
The Kings looked far sharper in the third period, and got a breakaway goal by Andrei Loktionov
5:43 into the third period, but couldn’t do much to solve Anaheim goalie Jeff Deslauriers, who made 32 saves. Jonathan Quick
made 15 saves for the Kings.
, the Kings’ fourth-line enforcer, left the game early in the second period and did not return. Westgarth fought Anaheim’s Brian McGrattan and went down and a heavy punch from McGrattan.
``He took a punch to the head, right under his left eye,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``He was evaluated and they decided to keep him out, obviously, and we'll get another look at him tomorrow and see where he's at.''
The Kings put forth what, with a couple exceptions, could be their opening-night roster up front, with only Trevor Lewis
missing among the group of regular forwards.
The defense was a little less settled, as the Kings played with regular pair Matt Greene
and Alec Martinez
, and with veteran Willie Mitchell
, but without Jack Johnson
and Rob Scuderi
and, of course, without Drew Doughty
, who remains without a contract.
The Ducks played a young lineup, and while both teams looked a bit listless and tentative in the first 20 minutes, the Kings stayed that way in the second period while the Ducks turned it on and scored three goals.
Murray offered a couple explanations for the Kings play, most notably that the line combinations are still trying to develop chemistry. The lines centered by Anze Kopitar
and Jarret Stoll
were playing their second preseason games together, while the line of Gagne, Mike Richards
and Dustin Brown
made its exhibition debut.
The Kings went 0-for-6 on the power play, an area of great concern last year, which followed a combined 2-for-13 effort on the power play in Wednesday’s split-squad games against Phoenix. Against the Ducks, though, the Kings had two power plays that, combined, lasted only 31 seconds.
The only real highlight for the Kings came in the third period when Loktionov found open ice in the neutral zone, took a nice stretch pass from Stoll, skated in alone and made a nice backhand move to beat Deslauriers.
``In the last two periods, we were more patient with the puck, and that’s what you want,’’ Gagne said. ``You don’t want to play to the score. That’s what we said after the second (period). We just want to go out there and get better and better. I thought we did that in the last 20, but the first 40 minutes was not quite the type of hockey we want to play. It’s preseason, and you need to play those games to get going.’’