Kings 5, Ducks 3
Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 10:22 PM
ANAHEIM -- The lights went out at Honda Center, and things only got more strange from there.
Once order, and full power, got restored, a tight game turned wild in the third period. The Kings took a two-goal lead, then lost it, then got it back, then scored a 140-foot shorthanded goal. After everyone exhaled, the scoreboard said the Kings had a 5-3 win over Anaheim before 15,412 on Thursday night.
In an early season full of fits and starts, the Kings recorded a nice back-to-back sweep of the rival Ducks, although the Kings’ play in the third period of both games left them little breathing room.
On Wednesday, the Kings allowed a game-tying goal late in the third period, then won in a shootout. On Thursday, the Ducks tied the game with 6:25 left in the third period, but Anze Kopitar scored the game-winning goal with 3:01 left and Mike Richards added a long shorthanded goal into an empty net.
The Kings also got an even-strength goal from Richards, a shorthanded goal from Simon Gagne and a power-play goal from Slava Voynov. Pretty much everything but a partridge in a pear tree, but at the end of the day, the Kings took four points from the mini-series and the Ducks recorded only one point.
``Obviously you don’t want to give up any points,’’ Kopitar said. ``At the end of the year, the three-point games are going to be all over place, so you don’t want to give up points if not necessary. Last night was a big win for us, and then coming in here, we knew we obviously had a good chance of winning. We’ve always played pretty good in this building, so we just came out and got the job done.’’
The Kings took a 2-1 lead into the third period, and the teams seemed poised for another low-scoring, tight-checking period, much like the previous five. But would the third period even get started?
As players hovered around the faceoff circle, the main bulbs that illuminate the ice did not come on. Citing safety concerns, officials did not start the game even though the ice surface was mostly lit, and after 17 minutes, arena officials finally got the lights up to regular capacity.
They must have also freed up some goblins in the rafters, because things got goofy in a hurry.
Voynov scored a power-play goal 2:45 into the period to give the Kings a 3-1 lead, and the Kings had a golden opportunity to put the game away at the 3:28 mark, when Anaheim’s Toni Lydman got called for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct. Instead, the game turned in the Ducks’ favor.
The Kings did little in the first three minutes of the power play, then Kings winger Ethan Moreau got called for an interference penalty in the offensive zone. Corey Perry scored on the ensuing power play, at the 8:24 mark, and the Ducks had life, and they would keep pressing and get the tying goal.
Andrew Cogliano’s second goal of the game tied it 3-3 with 6:25 to go, and for a couple minutes it seemed as though the Ducks might take the lead, but Kopitar wouldn’t have it. Deep in the Anaheim end, Kopitar picked up his own rebound and scored on a wraparound with 3:01 remaining.
After a Jack Johnson hooking penalty with 2:30 to go, the Ducks went all-in and pulled goalie Dan Ellis with 1:50 left, for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Richards fired a 140-shot into the open net with 1:38 remaining.
``I think it’s just a real good team effort from us, in here, to turn it around,’’ defenseman Rob Scuderi said. ``I think we were maybe playing 40, 45 minutes in the last five, six games ago, and that’s not enough to win in this league. I thought the last few games, we’ve really had a team effort, really talking about a lot of stuff in the locker room, to play the right way, play for 60 and give ourselves a chance, and I think we’re seeing that now.’’
The Kings made a deserving winner out of goalie Jonathan Quick, who was particularly outstanding early in the game and finished with 35 saves, and Quick got a rare burst of offensive support.
The Kings are undefeated this season when they score at least three goals, but they have only done is seven times in 19 games. Thursday’s game showed what the Kings can do when they get offense from several different players and from several different situations.
The Kings got two even-strength goals, two shorthanded goals and one power-play goal. They got goals from the first-line center, first-line left winger, second-line center and a rookie defenseman.
``That’s the scoring we need, the secondary scoring,’’ Kopitar said. ``Sometimes guys like me and (Dustin Brown) don’t score any goals, but we get production from other guys. That’s when you win games.’’
The teams combined for only two regulation goals on Thursday and, in the first period Thursday, pretty much picked up where they left off. The Kings outshot the Ducks 14-13 in a scoreless first period.
Richards broke the scoreless tie 1:54 into the second period. Richards took a short pass from Andrei Loktionov and found some space in the middle of the ice. Richards went to the net with Anaheim defenseman Kurtis Foster, then whipped a backhand shot past Ellis from the right circle to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Voynov also got an assist.
The Kings' lead lasted just more than two minutes, as the Ducks tied the game 1-1 at the 3:19 mark. Teemu Selanne attempted a wraparound shot, which got deflected by Saku Koivu in front of the net, right onto the stick of Cogliano to the right of the net. Cogliano, unmarked, shot the puck into an open net before Quick could slide across.
Gagne's shorthanded goal gave the Kings the lead back at the 7:28 mark. Gagne picked up the puck in the neutral zone and went in alone against Ellis. Gagne started wide right, then cut to the front of the net and tucked the puck around Ellis to give the Kings a 2-1 lead with his unassisted goal. It was the Kings' first shorthanded goal of the season, and would set the table for a wild third period.
``They’re very big points,’’ coach Terry Murray said. ``Any time you play a rival team, a division game like this, it’s critical that you come and play your best, that’s for sure, give yourself an opportunity to get those points. I think, in both games, both teams played very hard. There were stretches in the games where both teams had good things happening in the offensive zone. They tied the game up; they had a big push. They really came at us hard. Quicker held his ground defensively. I think we competed hard in front of our net, just to get things calmed down. Made it exciting at the end. They tied it up and it was an exciting finish.’’