|ANA||1||0||0||1||(0 - 0)||2|
|LAK||0||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
Much like a work of modern art, Saturday night's game between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks left itself open to plenty of interpretation.
Where some saw defensive brilliance, others stared at a lack of offense.
Where some saw one point gained in the standings, others glared at two points lost.
In a game that matched its late-season gravity, the Kings and Ducks gave strong efforts for 60 minutes and beyond. Anaheim got the extra point when Corey Perry's overtime goal gave the Ducks a 2-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,118 at STAPLES Center.
``It was a physical game,'' Kings goalie Jonathan Quick said. ``Both teams played well. We created a lot of opportunities. Ems [Ducks goalie Ray Emery] played really well for them. It was just unfortunate, the way it ended up.''
The Kings, while disappointed, seemed relatively pleased with their effort, and for good reason.
Other than a handful of blips, the Kings played a solid game, got a strong effort from goalie Jonathan Quick and put pressure on Ducks goalie Ray Emery. The Kings finally broke through when Dustin Brown tied the game 1-1 with 8:56 remaining in regulation. Brown knocked in a marvelous backhand pass out of the corner from Michal Handzus.
The Kings, for the most part, dominated the third period, but the Ducks got the extra point in overtime. Corey Perry was mobbed by teammates after he scored on a world-class shot from the top of the right circle, 1:32 into overtime, and right now every point is critical.
``We played really well tonight,'' Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said. ``We had a bad bounce on the first goal and we just couldn’t beat [Ray] Emery. We played exactly how we want to play. If we play like that, more times than not we’ll get the results we want. We get a point, we lose in OT against a team obviously we would like to win against in regulation to put a bigger gap between us. With that being said, I was really proud of the group and the guys and how we responded after the last game.''
With 10 games remaining, the Kings rank fifth with 86 points, ahead of sixth-place Dallas by one point. Two points back are seventh-place Chicago and eighth place Nashville, with Anaheim and Calgary sitting ninth and 10th, only three points behind the Kings.
Playoffs are no certainty, especially if the Kings can't generate more offense.
The Kings did a good job of putting pressure on Emery throughout the game, but had too many shots go wide, and the Ducks also did a good job of blocking shots, occupying shooting lanes and cleaning up rebounds when they bounced in front of Emery.
The Kings showed marked improvement from their dismal effort Thursday against St. Louis. This time, the loudest booing from Kings fans went toward the on-ice officials.
Wayne Simmonds seemingly tied the game in the second period, but his rebound shot and goal was immediately waved off, and teammate Alexei Ponikarovsky was called for goaltender interference despite being pushed into Emery by Anaheim's Luca Sbisa.
``From my view, I thought it was a good goal,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``I see their defenseman pushing Poni [Alexei Ponikarovsky] from behind, so it depends where you are on the ice, I guess, to get a look at it. We all want to protect the goaltenders. They're vulnerable in there. But that’s the way it goes.''
Quick fared well in goal for the Kings, as he made a handful of strong saves and was beaten only on a breakaway by Brandon McMillan in the first period and Perry's rocket slap shot in overtime. Quick finished with 23 saves.
``The guys played hard today,'' Murray said. ``It was a good game. I liked everything that was going on. Right from the very start of the game, there was a playoff-like atmosphere. The building was alive, and both teams came to compete hard. I thought we had an excellent third period. We just couldn’t find a way to finish at the end of the day.
``It was unfortunate, but we’re going to build off this. There was a lot of nice things that happened.''
Things don't get any easier for the Kings going forward. The Flames come to town on Monday, followed by a home game against Pacific Division-leading San Jose.
The biggest negative for the Kings, once again, was the power play, as they went 0-for-6 against an Anaheim team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in penalty killing. The Kings did go 3-for-3 on the penalty kill against a strong Anaheim power play, though, and have now gone nine consecutive games without allowing a power-play goal.
Play was fairly even early, but the Ducks broke through with the game's first goal.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead with 4:36 remaining in the first period. After a faceoff win, Dan Sexton fed a pass onto the stick of McMillan. McMillan got around Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who had tried to poke the puck free, then beat Quick from close range.
After five consecutive scoreless periods, the Kings broke through seconds after the end of a power play in the middle of the third period. Ponikarovsky, behind the net, pushed the puck to Handzus in the corner. Handzus, with his back to the net, whipped a backhand pass to the front of the net and Brown one-timed it past Emery from the side of the net to tie the game 1-1 with 8:56 remaining.
``Brownie just found himself in the right position,'' Murray said. ``He goes around behind the net, kind of gets hidden from the defensemanm, and parks himself off the weak side, but a great play by Poni [Ponikarovsky] and Zues [Handzus]. That’s a play that Handzus has made in the past. I've seen it with other teams and I've seen it here too. It was a great play.''
Perry ended overtime at the 1:32 mark. The play started in the Anaheim zone, where Anze Kopitar tried to play the puck but lost his footing. Cam Fowler picked up up and fed a pass to Perry, who skated into the Kings' zone. Perry boomed a slap shot from the top of the right circle, and Quick said he got a piece of the shot with his glove.
``Yeah. Not enough of it,'' Quick said. ``They got two points out of (the game). We've got to find a way to win those games.''
|Brandon McMillan (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Dan Sexton (9), Francois Beauchemin (12)|
1 - 0 ANA
|Dustin Brown (23) Wrist shot - ASST: Michal Handzus (17), Alexei Ponikarovsky (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Corey Perry (37) Snap shot - ASST: Cam Fowler (25)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Ryan Smyth Hooking against Jason Blake|
|Ryan Getzlaf Hi-sticking against Matt Greene|
|Luca Sbisa Boarding against Dustin Brown|
|Dustin Brown Interference against Francois Beauchemin|
|Andy Sutton Hooking against Dustin Brown|
|Andy Sutton Cross checking against Wayne Simmonds|
|Alexei Ponikarovsky Interference on goalkeeper against Ray Emery|
|Toni Lydman Hooking against Dustin Penner|
|Cam Fowler Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|SA: 32||TOI: 61:32|
|Saves: 31||EV: 24 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 7 - 7|
|SV%: .969||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 25||TOI: 61:22|
|Saves: 23||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .920||SH: 0 - 0|